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A very different business future is ahead, by Bob Vecchiotti

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It wasn’t too long ago that millennials or Gen Y were a large cohort that business managers worked hard to understand and appreciate. Realize the fact that today Gen Y is the largest generation at work. And they are the new managers. What did they learn from the previous generation and their coaching sessions? Enough to know what they really want to practice as managers and executives in a challenging world.

In business, Gen Y managers are influencing their companies in new ways. They are making significant changes to the way they manage people, build on technology, and create environments where people talk and challenge each other to make results happen quicker, cheapen, and better. The people they manage are both Gen Y and the new arrivals, Gen Z. Is there a sea change coming in business management?

Gen Y managers are more loyal to colleagues. Especially those colleagues who provide the data, have authenticity in their relationships, get results that make a difference, and serve a purpose. It’s not just getting results as before with Gen X. It’s a bigger picture. They understand that leadership is a process and the qualities of the leader work only when compatible with followers or implementers who are close. They respond well to a leader who is trustworthy. Gen Y managers learned these lessons as they rose in the ranks as implementers.

Gen Y managers are constantly providing feedback to their teams and in return seek affirmation that they are making a difference in effective team relationships. They seek a more authentic relationship with their associates meaning they enjoy each moment with them and face their challenges together with a balanced and respectful approach. They work at building mutual trust.

Information about themselves is important to improving their self-awareness as leaders. Assessments are available to increase self-awareness in Gen Y managers. Assessments of emotional intelligence and critical thinking, for example, add value to their management self-knowledge and practices. Gen Y managers share more of their feelings than previous generations. They are comfortable with differences and diversity in relationships whether in their personal lives with family and friends or at work. There’s less difference between their personal behavior and work behaviors. Consistency of behavior increases the accuracy of the perception of who they are by others.

They’ve learned to set clear expectations for their teams. By this they assure steady engagement and progress in meeting company objectives. Their efforts are creating a more entrepreneurial culture within their companies than previous generations. These characteristics and implications create a more diverse, engaged, and creative environment in which to problem solve and make major decisions.

Gen Y leaders are also preparing the next generation of managers from Gen Z (born between 1995 and 2010). These new managers will carry on the changes begun under Gen Y. This generation from recent surveys, has the following characteristics: Gen Z absorb more information from a wide global network. Global climate change and healthcare get a lot of their attention. They more easily move through many different social groups They engage easily with colleagues even those who disagree with them. They value differences and are a source of many connections nationally and worldwide. They like working in business and in their communities.

Surveys also tell us that Gen Z members are becoming more prominent in community activities than previous generations. Their social activism and humanistic values are visible in their volunteering in local charities, in local government as citizens and/or elected officials, they like frequent and meaningful feedback, and favor opportunities to increase employee engagement with small groups working on goals for meaningful projects.

Despite a very volatile business environment, Gen Z seem to consistently report a better future for themselves. One that includes a focused, optimistic, fluid, adaptive, and entrepreneurial business organization with shared leadership to better solve problems. You can prepare for the changes that, in my opinion lie ahead, by developing human resource strategies that take into consideration the implications of this column. Collaborate with other companies and educational institutions to discover a consensus of what’s ahead.

Bob Vecchiotti is a business psychologist and coach. He can be reached at rav@leadershipexpert.com or 924-2012.

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