Working with GenZ

lee morris headshot
Lee Morris, associate director at andpartnership

I’ve read a great amount about how best to work with millennials, what motivates them, how they like to learn and how they should be managed. Justifiably so, as some estimates suggest that by 2020, over half the workforce will comprise of millennials. It’s definitely worth having an awareness as a leader, in fact I’d go as far as saying that leading across the generations is now a key leadership skill for 2020 and beyond.

I’ve now experienced working with a different generation, and this time I don’t mean millennials. My daughter is 14 and belongs to the GenZ or iGen generation. There are different thoughts on the years of birth for this generation. According to a report published by the Pew Research Centre, they can be  described as the “post-millennials”, and it states that those who fall into this category were born in 1997 onwards. Holly, my daughter, was born in 2005. 

It began last night when I asked her to help me create some videos for work. I knew she was a keen ‘Youtuber’ and posted regular videos on Instagram, so with a monetary bribe and a promise that it would be great to spend some quality time together, we spent 3 hours on our kitchen table with phones, tablets and laptops at the ready.

Lee with his daughter, Holly

I have to say that without her help, I wouldn’t have known where to start. I consider myself ‘tech-savvy’ but navigating around any app, website or programme was so natural to her (a real trait of a GenZ).

What I did find though, was that she had:

  • A real lack of patience, e.g. “Surely you are happy with the first version?”
  • Tantrums, e.g. “I’ve had enough now. Do it yourself.”
  • Reflection, e.g. “Sorry Dad, let’s get this done now.”
  • Drive for results, e.g. “We can’t stop now until we get the final version out.”
  • Sense of achievement, e.g. “Let me know how many likes, hits, comments and shares you get” (notice the difference in what achievement is for this generation).
  • No adult interaction, e.g. “No way am I meeting anyone else at your work.”

Were these traits from a typical GenZ or just a typical teenager? Holly will undoubtedly learn some key life skills over the next few years but it’s interesting to think that I could be working with her age group in just the next 3 or 4 years. 

It’s never been more important to understand how to lead a multi-generational workforce. So why not join me at our LeaderSHIFT Forum being held at Trent Bridge Cricket Club in Nottingham on 17th September, where we’ll be discussing generational differences and much more. It’s free and you can book a place here.

Alternatively, you can contact me to find out how we can help with your leadership and organisational development requirements.