Generation Y [Born 1977 -1989] can not be ignored. They are going to dominate[They are already doing so in many industries currently] the workplace in near future not only in terms of humongous numbers but also would be taking up key managerial and leadership roles.
Hence, it becomes very important to understand how they are different from Gen X.
A particular research done by Nike has interesting findings.
Since the characteristics of Gen Y are extremely different from Gen X, there is a need for fundamental shift from existing leadership style to a new age form of collaborative leadership style.
A typical collaborative leadership style would have the following characteristics:
- They will respect the characteristics of Gen Y if not be appreciative of them
- They have to be non hierarchical and embrace flat structures.
- There will be a transition from communication to conversation where social media tools in the internet would become more important than ever. The leaders have to leverage that.
- Proactively respond to the expectations of the Gen Y in terms of career development and rewards.
- Make the Gen Y associates inclusive of decision making process across all levels. This would include decisions that would impact the external as well as internal customers.
- Building informal relationships that would nurture even professional development of his associates would become his focus area.
- The leader has to make a transition from implementing rules to implementing guidelines where the Gen Y associates will have the broad guidelines to refer to and at the same time have the autonomy to use their creativity.
- The leader has to be more trustworthy than ever to earn the respect of Gen Y.
- The leader has to often make the associates aware of how their efforts are helping the organization to transform.
- The leader must have an appealing sense of humour.
- He must foster goodness and righteousness in the organization as the Gen Y would have zero level tolerance towards injustice
- The leader must be highly execution oriented.
- Feedback must be given immediately and in a constructive manner at a professional level.
- Constant follow ups by the leader would be highly uncalled for. Hence, the associate’s performance expectation must be communicated to him in a clear and well defined manner before the task or assignment is initiated by him.
- The leader has to embrace technology and use it as a lever in engaging his associates.
- The leader must have the humility to constantly learn from his associates. In other words he should not shy away from being the follower of his associates.
This change in leadership style has to happen rapidly. The pace at which such a transition in leadership style takes place would become very critical in deciding how well the Gen Y generation would be lead, managed and engaged.