Multigenerational teams have given leaders cause to pause for review of their management styles, tools and techniques. It is no secret workforce changes have prompted a revisit of everything from training delivery to employee benefits to leadership development. What worked for the baby-boomer generation doesn’t necessarily work for Generation X, millennials or Generation Z.
Leaders across the board are challenged with assembling and managing teams whose varying skills and experience create an ultimate opportunity at success. The question becomes, how can leaders add tools for the team and lead the way to maximize synergy, productivity and success? How can leaders bridge the gap between generations while executing the organization’s plan for success?
Psychologist Abraham Maslow has been credited with the phrase, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Of course, if there is only one tool in the toolbox, there is a high probability it will be overused. Case in point, a senior executive client recently asked for possible solutions to a management conundrum involving a recently promoted older manager, who admittedly had limited experience with multigenerational teams. His management style was directive-based and he tended to approach younger team members like a hammer. Pushback or questions from the team were viewed as rebellion and a direct assault on his authority. My client’s goal was to impactfully direct a change in process without damage to an otherwise valuable employee.
The key was to add tools of adaptation to the manager’s toolkit. First, we began by analyzing several applicable components of leadership and noted any deficiency.