The third speaker of the day, Tamara Erickson took the stage at the World Leadership Forum Mexico to challenge our perspectives of the different generational factors that affect organizations. An expert in managing generational differences within the workplace, her presence combines the powerful respect of a business leader with the understanding, analytical mind of a psychologist.
Erickson’s concern stems from the end of growth in the global population that she foresees happening around mid-21st century. Due to this leveling off of the population, we will see an increase in the number of generations in the workplace.
As a leader, how will you be able to direct and manage such a diverse group of individuals? Erickson suggests following her 4 A’s for leaders of multigenerational organizations to better manage such a team:
1. Traditionalists (65+)
This generation grew up liking and trusting institutions, and as such has a loyalty to the organization that is most likely stronger than any other generation.
2. Boomers (50-65)
The Boomers grew up in a period of expansion with kids booming into the market place, and learned that they must fight and struggle for jobs. As a result they are hard workers and competitive.
3. Generation X (30-49);
This generation grew up in a time of struggle; they experienced difficult economic and social times during formative years. As a result they are self-reliant and like to control their own fate, and are skeptical of institutions.
4. Generation Y (30 or less)
This group grew up with two major factors affecting development: technology and terrorism. They have a the sense that something bad could happen at any time and as a result want to get things done immediately and live in the here and now.
5. Looming on the horizon and ready to join us in the next decade is what Erickson calls the Re-Generation (16 and under), who have grown up during a global final recession. As a result they have a real awareness of the lack in global resources (limited energy and water), and will have a very different and powerful impact on the workplace.
As a leader, how will you be able to direct and manage such a diverse group of individuals? Erickson suggests following her 4 A’s for leaders of multigenerational organizations:
Appreciation- Develop appreciation for the differences in generations, and learn to recognize and appreciate them all as valuable contributions to the workplace.
Acknowledge- Welcome diversity in the workforce. Make it clear to the entire team that you know multiple perspectives exist and that you in fact want them in order to enrich the team.
Arbitrate- Leaders must uphold and balance the needs and perspectives of their workers, and create diverse ways for them to interact.
Adapt- Leaders need to be able to change and adapt, and have flexible talent management practices. It is essential for leadership today to make sure that the right form of communication is used for messages to be relayed to teams, and for change to take place if necessary.