My line of work has its share of bullshit like any type of work but one of my favourite parts is being able to experience different management models in various organization size and unique industries. One area I love is working with Gen Z’s. I don’t know why but I just get along with them when most of my constituents complain about them. In the few organizations I operated in, there is this clear divide between Gen Z and everyone else.
I’m not saying I understand all Gen Z but I want to share what I’ve learned that has developed mutual understanding. Hopefully this can help you better understand these tech-savvy, socially conscious, and independent-minded individuals who have their own set of expectations and values when it comes to their work. I’ll also share my personal opinion why it’s important for us to understand and in some respect, accommodate their needs.
But first, who is Gen Z?
Here is what I have discovered over the years in successfully working with this intriguing cohort:
Be transparent Honesty and authenticity is important. While they’re young, they can spot a phony a mile away because they’re exposed to a lot of human interactions thanks to social media. Be transparent with them about work goals, plans, and challenges, and they will be more likely to trust and respect you.
Embrace technology They are the generation born at the maturity of technology. That means they expect it to be integrated into every aspect of their work. You need to embrace new tools and technologies to make their jobs (and yours) easier and more efficient.
Encourage collaboration The idea of teamwork and collaboration should be important to every cohort. However, I have seen how Gen Z get excited and thrive in a collaborative environment. Encourage them to share their ideas and work together on projects. In fact, encourage everyone.
Offer flexibility Create work-life balance values. This was something I had to learn, as most of my career was to work until I couldn’t. I realized I was more accepted as a manager when I respected and approved their need for flexibility. Whether it’s offering them the ability to work from home or have flexible hours when possible, you’ll get back awesome results.
Lead by example This is something I am still working on. I have yet to meet a leader most Gen Z’s looks up to. I don’t think they’re incapable of doing so, but I believe it is a matter of aligning my actions with their values. The exercise I am currently trying is to be a role model for them by not be a complete capitalistic narcissist while maintain being ethical and treating everyone with very apparent respect.
The mentioned above might seem obvious but it wasn’t for me. I also think it’s possible that in the very near future, millennials like me will end up working for Gen Z because they will make better leaders.