The rise of Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, is transforming the landscape of leadership. Empowering Generation Z leaders is pivotal in fostering inclusive innovation among these young individuals.
Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is a generation that grew up with advanced technologies integrated into their daily lives. Their remarkable adaptability, rapid learning, and embrace of change make them ideal candidates for leadership roles in the 21st century.
Agents of Change
Gen Z possesses distinctive traits of being conscious, innovative, and outspoken. Their lives are deeply influenced by social media and easily accessible global information. Despite facing a fast-changing world filled with uncertainties, Gen Z remains positive, believing in their ability to adapt and break down barriers to bring about transformative change. The code for the agent of change lies within Generation Z leaders.
Going Beyond Leadership Foundation
To meet Gen Z’s expectations, conscious leadership with a nontraditional approach becomes crucial in focusing on the essential leadership foundation. Gen Z leaders encounter challenges that impede their growth, with mental health concerns being one of the most pressing issues. Factors like academic pressure, social media influence, and uncertainty about the future increase anxiety and stress levels. As aspiring leaders, Gen Z must develop resilience and emotional intelligence through conscious leadership to effectively navigate these challenges.
Organizations can harness the potential of Gen Z leaders and drive positive change by emphasizing the following areas:
1. Creating Mentorship Programs
Connecting Gen Z with experienced leaders will help shape their leadership qualities by sharing insights, guidance, and feedback. This approach also breaks down barriers, builds networks, and promotes diversity at all levels.
2. Sustainability and Diversity
Inclusive innovation requires diverse perspectives. Organizations must commit to DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) initiatives. This includes implementing policies and practices that foster fairness, equality, and representation at all leadership levels.
3. Tech Literacy
Fostering tech-savviness goes beyond using smartphones and social media. Gen Z is accustomed to digital interactions and prefers multiple communication channels. Provide platforms for virtual collaboration, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management tools.
4. Developing Emotional Intelligence
No conscious leadership can thrive without emotional intelligence, a fundamental trait that all leaders must possess. Gen-Z must be taught how to understand and manage their emotions, empathize with others, and build meaningful relationships. Emotional intelligence facilitates better communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution.
5. Teamwork and Interpersonal Communication
Gen Z may lack experience and skills in teamwork and interpersonal communication due to their reliance on digital interactions. Provide training and strategies to help them overcome these challenges and fully engage in collaborative efforts.
Highlighting a Better Future
Generation Z represents a beacon of hope for a better future in leadership. Their commitment to DEI sets them apart as a generation that seeks to create positive change and meaningful impact. As they step into leadership roles, Gen Z will drive innovation, promote sustainability, and advocate for upgraded equality.
This generation is more diverse than any before, and they celebrate differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and more. As leaders, they will prioritize creating inclusive environments that value diverse perspectives and experiences. By prioritizing the well-being of their teams and communities, Gen Z leaders will create healthier and more productive environments.
“But a new generation is on the rise, and the first step to communicating with them, is understanding they aren’t just another Millennial.” ― Pamela La Gioia.
Supporting Gen Z’s professional well-being requires creating a work environment prioritizing mental health, well-being, and work-life balance. To achieve this, organizations should proactively provide various resources and support systems while offering flexibility to help Gen Z employees maintain their physical and emotional health.
Providing multiple career pathways, supporting their authenticity, committing to DEI (diverse, equity, inclusion), offering mentorship programs and various communication channels, and supporting their CSR (corporate social responsibility) priorities.
According to Psychology Today, four qualities make leaders more attractive to Generation Z: humility, perspective, courage, and people skills. Additionally, a study indicates that 69% of Gen Z believe soft skills will become more important than hard skills for future C-suite leaders. Gen Z leaders are expected to be more multidisciplinary and place less emphasis on company loyalty.