The copious amount written on Gen Z is only rivalled by the number of discussions the Millenials have faced! And they aren’t even out of college yet! So, here we are adding our bit – but not with a condescending tone of 'How to deal with them' but focusing it on their thoughts and needs to make it more easyfor us oldies to understand them.
Simply put, Generation Z or Gen Z comprises people born after 1997. It is our youngest generation, and the oldest amongst them are just joining the workforce and colleges.
Like every generation, Gen Z too has many characteristics that are uniquely their own. Here’s a look at some of the main features that are associated with them -
Gen-Zers are the true digital natives. Even the oldest of them have never been without the Internet - and we are not talking about dial-up modems and giant cell phones! This generation has not seen the evolution of mobile or Internet technologies or ever done without them – for them, these technologies are not luxuries they are necessities.
With technology comes social media, and as comfortable denizens of the virtual world – Gen-Zers are living a vast amount of their lives online. Unlike older generations, they came into social media really early and have used this as a benchmark for relationships and socializing.
Naturally, all this exposure to the Internet and social platforms, ensures extremely wide access to information – not just about what’s happening in their towns or countries, but also on the other sides of the world.
Along with access to information comes the ability to form opinions and to voice them. This translates into youngsters that are mature beyond their years and dabble in activities that their older counterparts reached much later in life. This need for independence and autonomy is reflected in the strong entrepreneurial abilities demonstrated by the Gen-Zers.
Deloitte conducted a survey called the Global Millennial Survey 2019, which surveyed 13,416 millennials across 42 countries and territories, and 3,009 members of Gen Z from 10 countries, including India, the US, the UK, China, and Japan. According to the survey the top three priorities or ambitions of Gen-Zers are -
In India, Gen-Zers put earning a high salary as one of their top ambitions with 68% of participants opting for it (globally this falls to 58%).
57% of both age groups surveyed put travel and seeing the world on top when asked about their priorities – in India this percentage was even higher as 60% of the Gen-Zers prioritised traveling.
The priority that came a close third was making a positive impact on society or community, and here again Indian Gen-Zers (with 58% positive reactions) felt more strongly about helping others – globally 47% of Gen Zers prioritised helping their community.
Born in the age of the matured Internet and digital technology, Gen Z students expect their classrooms to keep up. As a generation that lives with an information overload they want learning to be visual and engaging – textbooks are being shunned in favour of video tutorials, and they are demanding that old educational systems change to keep pace with their technological needs.
Students are also looking for more personalised learning experiences. Online learning has made that possible, and they desire more control over what they learn, how they learn, and when they learn.
They lead busy, multitasking lives and want education to be useful and to the point. With access to information, they are impatient with an education that is slow and narrow in scope and wants teachers who can go beyond the basic and teach life skills and guide them through the confusing array of the information available online.
Yes, money, security, and stability are essential, but Gen-Zers want more. They are willing to get paid less if the work is more meaningful. The focus is on changing the world and doing good, and they are most satisfied if they get work that allows them to make an impact.
Gen-Zers are also highly entrepreneurial. They see professional careers becoming less stable and are open to taking risks and following their passions. Job opportunities where they learn and grow are perceived as highly desirable to most students emerging into the workplace.
Most Gen-Zers also value technology and want to work around it. A research conducted by Dell Technologies in 2018 polled 12,000 members of Gen Z from countries including Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand and found that 97% believe technological literacy matters, and 80% want to work with cutting-edge technologies.
Till now, everyone was focused on the millennials, but as they grow older, the attention has shifted to the next generation. Millennials, to some extent, got bogged down with stereotypes – the general feeling was that they had to be 'handled' or that they were 'difficult' or 'spoilt.' This approach wasn't constructive for anyone – the millennials, the educators, or the companies.
Lets us not go down that road again – we need to move beyond superficial stereotypes to understand that every generation is a product of its circumstances and upbringing, but ultimately what they want is not such different people before them – the opportunity to live a decent life!
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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