Leading Cultures and Generations

Much has been written (and rightly so) regarding Millennials and the impact they are having on the workplace through the disruption of “business as usual.”  The overall values and beliefs of this generation are vastly different than anything we have experienced in the past. It is estimated that by the year 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.  

While I can appreciate the focus on the Millennial generation I believe that we should be engaged in a much broader conversation regarding the future workplace, and the leaders who will be responsible for leading this workforce.

Never before in our history have we encountered this level of complexity related to the needs of the entire workforce. Our business environment today includes a mix of multi-generational (Traditionalists, Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennials) and multi-cultural employees.

Now more than ever, leaders are being required to manage staff ranging from 20-75 with a variety of cultural backgrounds. The challenge centers around providing leaders with the skills and tools necessary to meet the expectations and needs of this ever expanding multi- generational, multi-cultural workforce.

In researching the characteristics of these four generations I found that generational views concerning the workplace are unique and complex. While Millennials have the greatest number of dissimilarities each of these four generations has specific sets of characteristics and needs.

Coupled with generational characteristics we must continue to address and support culture diversity. It is evident that those we call to lead must be able to honestly reflect on their ability to meet the needs of today’s workforce.

Leaders are no longer those limited to the “C” suite. We must shift our perspective and realize that every person in an organization with even a few staff members may face the muti-generational, multi-cultural challenge. How they meet that challenge cannot be left to chance but instead must be met with specific, deliberate, effectively developed skills.

To add further complexity, the Millennial generation expects to change jobs every two to three years. Gone are the days of an entire career at one organization. Employee turnover is currently costing 30.5 billion annually. These figures are staggering! Businesses must address the fact that “people don’t leave organizations, people leave bosses.”

Leadership and the behaviors that create effective leaders must be developed. Therefore, leadership development is not a “transactional event”, but a process. People do not walk out of a “training” class as an effective leader. Leadership development must be cultivated!

Organizations cannot continue to offer outdated training models that consist of disparate learning events. Developing future leaders must be done as a transformative experience.

I have attended several leadership “trainings” throughout my career that were academic exercises typically proposing additional tasks to my already overloaded “to do” list. This type of training does not consider the complexities of today’s workforce. Leadership development must address today’s multi-generational, multi- cultural needs and provide a method for ongoing support reinforcing effective leadership skills

The Center for LeaderShaping offers a truly transformative experience with continuous learning. Our  peer to peer network provides ongoing support and discussions regarding real world challenges and best practices.

Much has been written (and rightly so) regarding Millennials and the impact they are having on the workplace through the disruption of “business as usual.” The overall values and beliefs of this generation are vastly different than any we have experienced in the past. It is estimated that by the year 2025 Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. 

While I can appreciate the focus on the Millennial generation I believe that we should be engaged in a much broader conversation regarding the future workplace, and the leaders who will be responsible for leading this workforce.

Never before in our history have we encountered this level of complexity related to the needs of the entire workforce. Our business environment today includes a mix of multi-generational (Traditionalists, Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennials) and multi-cultural employees.

Now more than ever, leaders are being required to manage staff ranging from 20-75 with a variety of cultural backgrounds. The challenge centers around providing leaders with the skills and tools necessary to meet the expectations and needs of this ever expanding multi- generational, multi-cultural workforce.

In researching the characteristics of these four generations I found that generational views concerning the workplace are unique and complex. While Millennials have the greatest number of dissimilarities each of these four generations has specific sets of characteristics and needs.

Coupled with generational characteristics we must continue to address and support cultural diversity. It is evident that those we call to lead must be able to honestly reflect on their ability to meet the needs of today’s workforce.

Leaders are no longer those limited to the “C” suite. We must shift our perspective and realize that every person in an organization with even a few staff members may face the multi-generational, multi-cultural challenge. How they meet that challenge cannot be left to chance but instead must be met with specific, deliberate, effectively developed skills.

To add further complexity, the Millennial generation expects to change jobs every two to three years. Gone are the days of an entire career at one organization. Employee turnover is currently costing $30.5 billion annually. These figures are staggering! Businesses must address the fact that “people don’t leave organizations, people leave bosses.”

Leadership and the behaviors that create effective leaders must be developed. Therefore, leadership development is not a “transactional event”, but a process. People do not walk out of a “training” class as an effective leader. Leadership development must be cultivated over time.

Organizations cannot continue to offer outdated training models that consist of disparate learning events. Developing future leaders must be done as a transformative experience.

I have attended countless leadership “trainings” throughout my career that were academic exercises proposing additional tasks to my already overloaded “to do” list. This type of training does not consider the complexities of today’s workforce. Leadership development must address today’s multi-generational, multi-cultural needs and provide a method for ongoing support reinforcing effective leadership skills.

The Center for LeaderShaping offers a truly transformative experience with continuous learning. Our peer to peer network provides ongoing support and discussions regarding real world challenges and best practices. We can give your leaders the kind of experience that will equip them to lead in today’s world and be ready for the future.