There’s lots of change happening in the world at the moment, and there’s a lot of change happening within the workforce as well. We are beginning to experience a significant shift in the roles played by different generations.
As every year goes on, Baby boomers are retiring, Gen Zs are rapidly moving into the workforce and starting to take up leadership positions. These changes in demographics are driving organisations to focus on succession planning, building trust, and raising new leaders. There are lots of opportunities here, but there are also some risks and challenges that we need to think about.
The boomers have a lot of experience and have a lot of wisdom. As they move out, we need to make sure that that capital of knowledge is not lost. There is such an important role for boomers to be playing, particularly around mentoring and coaching and championing the next generation. I know that people are scared of the unknown and that it can be hard to connect and really understand each other, particularly when there are big gaps within generations. But there are things and roles for everyone to play in this.
Raise new leaders
One of the most significant challenges facing organisations today is the retirement of baby boomers, who hold many of the senior leadership positions. Companies are now looking to identify and develop potential leaders to fill these roles when they become vacant. By developing a robust succession plan, organisations can ensure continuity and maintain stability in the wake of these changes.
A big role is to be identifying the potential for new leaders, for younger leaders, and to be empowering them. The role of mentoring and coaching is going to be really important to play. That’s going to involve letting go of some of the ways that we’ve done things in the past and embracing new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new opportunities. But also championing the younger people at the same time as honouring what has been done in the past as well.
Passing on the baton
Gen X and millennials will also need to pass the baton down to be providing new opportunities. This shift is going to start moving soon as well. We need to be building trust with each other, not disdain of the other, either of how things used to be or how things should be in the future. We need to find ways to be able to reconcile both of those and to align towards common goals together with an open mind.
Passing on the baton from one generation to the next can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to leadership positions. However, it is essential to create opportunities for new leaders to learn from their predecessors and build their own leadership style. This can be done through mentoring, job shadowing, and leadership development programs. By empowering the next generation of leaders, organisations can build a sustainable future.
Each generation has its unique work style and perspective, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. However, by creating an open and inclusive work culture, organisations can bridge the gap between generations and build trust. Encouraging open communication, active listening, and empathy can help create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued and heard.
We need to be listening to each other well. We need to be building up and finding ways to encourage and champion each other, to be showing belief, particularly for younger people.
A big aspect is giving permission and allowing everyone to have a voice. This does not just mean receiving feedback and then doing nothing about it, but to turn feedback and ideas into actions that are going to be meaningful for the organisation, and ultimately, thinking globally to contribute for the greater good.
The Now Generation
Raising new leaders involves more than just developing technical skills. It requires cultivating a mindset of leadership that prioritizes empathy, collaboration, and innovation. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth, organisations can ensure that their future leaders have the skills and mindset necessary to succeed in an ever-changing business landscape.
A big mindset shift we need to make is that the next generation isn’t necessarily in five or 10 years time, but they’re the now generation as well. Like I said, it’s a big shift. It’s not easy to address because we might not want to change things too quickly or put people offside. But it’s really important to be proactive, start having these conversations and to be intentional about how we can be learning from each other, championing and identifying the leaders for the future and for now as well.
Generational role changes are inevitable in the workplace. organisations need to prepare for them now. By identifying potential leaders, passing on the baton, building trust, and cultivating a leadership mindset, organisations can build a sustainable future. It’s an exciting time for the workplace as different generations come together to create new opportunities for growth and development. If your organisation is going through a generational shift and needs support, reach out to us to learn more about how we can help.