The workforce has seen a dramatic shift over the past decade with businesses facing the increasingly complex dynamics of managing a multigenerational organization. We’re currently seeing five generations of people combining and blending their unique perspectives and ideas to form a diverse landscape that is encouraging companies to embrace intergenerational learning. Whether it’s traditionalists born before 1945, Boomers, Millennials, or Gen Z, this diversity of age can prove to be an advantage for companies choosing to embrace the various skills and talents that can make their organization more complex. The multigenerational workforce landscape has proven to be even more challenging for executives, managers, and leaders who are seeking to understand the various communication styles and work styles of each generation group.
The Current Climate of Today’s Workforce
Currently some companies are managing employees with four to five generations of people who have distinct experiences and skills that are reflective of the era they grew up in which is individually unique given technology and the social landscape. This radical transformation to the workforce landscape is a result of workplace demographics and technological transformation which continues to innovate every single year. In 2020 alone, Millennials accounted for over 50% of the US workforce and have become the demographic moving the most rapidly into managerial positions. As we are seeing a shift in who leads an organization, it has become essential for companies to embrace, foster, and accept the differences in work styles and learning processes in order to show flexibility and the willingness to learn.
Leadership Comes From All Experience Levels
The traditional view of leadership would place age, seniority, and experience before skills or talent. Yet, a Millennial can be just as qualified to lead as a Boomer, the generational gap is no longer viewed as the sole cause for qualification. In order for a diverse workforce to capitalize on the amazing talent and knowledge that comes from multigenerational leaders, they must champion all experience levels and ages. Focusing on fostering leadership skills and collaboration between multigenerational workers will show employees regardless of age or gender that everyone is accepted and can bring something valuable to the table. In the past we saw leadership pipelines with 20-25 years of experience needed in order to level up, but when organizations develop emerging leaders with a global mindset, this allows management to evolve within several roles.
How to Lead A Multigenerational Team
Whether you’re a C-suite executive or a manager, leading a multigenerational team requires you to bridge the gap and understand the benefits that come from an age-diverse workforce. You want to create an environment that supports two-way learning to help intergenerational interactions that will encourage a mutual exchange of knowledge. Look towards the strengths and weaknesses of the team and give them projects that will allow them to deeply engage and have cross-generational collaboration. A dynamic leader embraces and
encourages different work styles, communication, and perspectives that will create learning opportunities that every single individual can grow from regardless of their generational background.