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Empowering Gen Z Managers: 4 Leadership Development Strategies

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Generation Z professionals are an ever-growing presence in the modern workplace, and it's fair to say that they work differently than previous generations. Trends like “lazy girl jobs” have left many more experienced professionals with a bad impression of Zoomers. A whopping 74 percent of managers said Generation Z is the biggest challenge at work. These managers described the young talents as “easily distracted,” “easily offended,” and “unmotivated.”

These terms have given Generation Z a bad name, and some professionals have even said they are unprepared to enter the workforce. But how justified are these judgments, and what can HR managers do to make younger talent feel welcome and valued in the workplace?

The truth is that most members of Generation Z are determined, ambitious and driven. Some of them already hold important leadership positions, increasing their influence and importance. It's only a matter of time before more of them climb the career ladder.

The future of your workforce undoubtedly lies with Generation Z - by 2030 they will make up 30 percent of the workforce. This means developing ways to help them and their multigenerational colleagues succeed together so that they can have successful careers in management and your company can take full advantage of their abilities.

Identify the strengths of Gen Z leaders

The first action HR professionals can take to develop Generation Z leaders is to eliminate generational biases by looking at the facts.

Zach Clayton, CEO of digital marketing company Three Ships, talks about a new approach to leadership in his book True North, Emerging Leader Edition: Leading Authentically in Today's Workplace. Clayton advocates for a collaborative and supportive approach to professional development as opposed to traditional leadership styles that emphasize power and control.

This new leadership style is proving to be more effective for managers of all generations: today's professionals are far more receptive to generous leadership approaches than to authoritarian, domineering approaches.

In general, Generation Z leaders use a collaborative, flexible style and lead through their commitment to helping others around them. These approaches are an integral part of Gen Z’s leadership psyche.

The idea of servant leadership was a major theme in a survey of Gen Z talent. "Leading by example" was also highlighted as a positive trait by another group of Gen Z professionals in the study.

Young leaders also champion authenticity, acceptance and inclusivity in their approach. They work to empower their teams and - contrary to certain prejudices - demonstrate skillful communication skills.

Typically, Generation Z leaders strive to help their team members succeed, identify areas for improvement, and provide support and resources. With their strong ability to listen and show empathy, they are particularly effective at building trust and connection with the people they lead. These characteristics give them everything they need to maximize the potential of their teams.

1.Motivate Gen Z with incentives that appeal to them

Maximizing the potential of Gen Z team members requires hiring managers to connect to their values and the things that really matter to them. The same approach applies to Gen Z leaders, and it's important to find targeted ways to motivate your managers with incentives that resonate with them.

It is important for young managers to:

  • Promote a good work-life balance and flexibility in your company to support a healthy relationship with work and reduce the risk of burnout
  • Establish your DEI&B strategy as a cornerstone of your culture, not only to demonstrate your commitment, but also to create an inclusive environment that maximizes the potential of your employees
  • Reinforce your ESG programs and culture to help protect the planet and run your business more thoughtfully and sustainably.

By focusing your HR efforts on these incentive areas, you're more likely to retain your Gen Z talent, whether they're in a leadership role or not.

2.Offer more personal leadership training and support

Developing Generation Z professionals into exceptional leaders requires dedicated personal training and HR support.

It is important to provide young and relatively inexperienced managers with a comprehensive support package so that they can learn and improve and feel truly valued by your company.

Each new leader benefits from extensive feedback from an experienced mentor, open communication about challenges and their ongoing development, and access to leadership training programs.

Generation Z professionals in particular value honesty and transparency. So be as open as possible about the situation in your company and its progress. It's important to demonstrate integrity and humility as you demonstrate your support for their professional development and create an environment in which they can envision themselves spending many years with your company.

3.Trust your Gen Z leaders

Every effective leader deserves to be trusted and respected by senior management and HR - young leaders are no different.

Generation Z managers have a natural drive to succeed. Give them the space to use their critical thinking skills and personal relationships to find solutions to the challenges they face. In today's dynamic business world, it is often more important to create an environment where it is safe for someone to try new ideas and learn than to enforce an overly protective environment that restricts their freedom.

Consider developing a close mentoring relationship for each Gen Z leader so they can talk about things and solve problems in a supportive environment. And remember, they learn quickly: Generation Z has grown up with rapidly evolving technology. They usually understand new software quickly and are able to get other team members on board.

4.Harness their entrepreneurial spirit

Zoomers are innovative and motivated. You are not afraid to break new ground, develop new ideas or change tried and tested processes.

This spirit can provide the development a competitive business needs and help you stay at the forefront of your industry. Giving your Generation Z managers the opportunity to emerge as independent leaders will help your business stay creative, drive customer loyalty and increase sales.

Reward Gen Z's successes with compensation and recognition, and they'll take your teams to new heights. If they don't receive the validation and recognition they feel they deserve, their entrepreneurial spirit could lead them to become self-employed.

It’s time to embrace Gen Z leadership

There's no escaping the fact that Generation Z leaders are the future of the modern workplace. Developing your talents now is the best way to take full advantage of their skills and abilities so you can use their talents to support company goals.

It's up to HR professionals to break free from generalized stereotypes about Generation Z and embrace the innovative, disruptive nature of this generation. By giving your young leaders the skills and resources they need to advance their careers, you'll increase their loyalty and build teams driven by a collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit.

Your empowered Generation Z leaders will champion their team members, bring new ideas, and help advance your company in a changing world.

Invest in Generation Z leaders to harness their potential for organizational success. IceHrm can support HR efforts in developing and empowering these future-focused leaders.

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