How do I lead and manage Generation X?
Hello, and welcome to this session where we will look at what the next generation of the UK work force will look like and will expect from their employers. We will look at why considering these future changes and offering those benefits today gives you the advantage when recruiting the best staff possible for your team now or as you grow one in the future.
For those of you that don’t know me, my names Johann Goree and I’m the managing Director of OnPoint Accounting which is an accounting and bookkeeping firm based in Scotland supporting clients across the uk with a team based across the UK. The company is three years old with a team of five of us currently supporting approximately 260 client’s.
Although I started an accounting and bookkeeping business my true passion, skill set and calling is leadership of teams and management of businesses and it’s to this end that I’m a chartered manager, and currently working towards my PHD in leadership and management while developing and launching a range of leadership and management training and support services
Managers & Leaders
Before we look at what the next generation want in 2020 onwards i want to clarify two big pieces of terminology, Leaders and managers because the next generation is demanding good leadership.
Its really important that we understand the different roles and skills required to be a leader or a manager. Some people are great managers and poor leaders, som great leaders and poor managers a few people are great at both and thats becasue they know the difference between each one and at which time they need to utilise each role to benefit themselves, their business, their teams and their clients.
Leaders- Leaders are people that are passionate and driven to make their business or team succeed. They have a vision of what success looks like and they are relentless in the strive for that vision. Leaders make descions based on their morals and ethics rather than facts and figures. A leader will Consider the facts and figures but ultimately will decide on a direction or outcome based on their ethic and morals. A leaders team sees and feeds of a leaders energy and passion. They trust the leader to look after them and keep them safe, in return the team will be commited to the leaders vision and work hard to help the leader reach the goal. Leaders have an infinate view on things they see the bigger picture and dont aim for statistics. Apple’s Tim Cook is a great example of a leader with an infinate view they never say they aim to be the number one phone producer they aim to make the best phone they can regardless of what the compition is doing Tim is foucsed on culture and the vision of his company and by doing this Apple benifits today and in the future
Managers – Managers are people that create and follow processes and work flows, they make desisions based on the facts in front of them. They ensure the team follows the processes in place to meet the goals of the leader. Managers are very detail orientated where as the leader looks at the bigger picture. Managers normally have a finite view, this means they see an end, a result, a deadline, its a very short term view. A manager will aim to run the best department or section in the business and the may get there but often once there they loose direction and focus becasue that goals been met. a finite view often stiffles creation, innovation and creates a transactional culture within the team.
Managers can be taught to manage and our education systems are very proactive in teaching people to be managers but leaders need certain personality traits developed through their enviroment to lead and these cant be taught as they have to come naturally to you.
Someone could develop leadership skills later in life, its not something you are born with although some people are born with natural personalities and traits that help. Leadership can develop as you develop a passion and interest in an area. You may not have seen yourself as a leader before but as you enter new jobs, family roles and social roles you may develop leadership.
Anyone creating and running their own business is a leader, they have a goal, a passion in their chosen industry they run the business based on what they believe is right and wrong they may not be amazing leaders right now but they have the foundations to grow into leaders. Not all business owners make great managers because they aren’t interested in managing processes, people and details. A truley great business owner can assume both roles and and use the skills of the manager persona to influence an support the drive of the leadership persona that will drive the business forward and make your team be invested into your business.
So lets look into what the future of the employing a modern team looks like.
Every 20 years a new generation enters the work force and will make up the majority of the work force for the next 20 years. Each generation has it own views and opinions on how work and work place should work and these opinions shape the next evolution of working behaviours and patterns.
What’s really interesting is that the previous generation often values the changes the next generation expect and they would have liked the changes themselves but never thought they were realistic.
In 2020 we have generation X entering the work force.
So What is Gen X?
Gen X is the generation of people born between 2000 and 2020 that have started feeding in to the work force in the last two to four years and will continue to drive change in the work force for the next 15 years. Gen X have been rasied to have certain expectations on the quality of life they lead and unlike previous generations where it was assumed you would work 9-5 monday to friday to live for the weekends and you holidays Gen X beleive your work should come second in priorities beleiving they live to work not work to live.
GenX want to work for great leaders and businesses, they care about the companies ethics and morals to the point they wont apply or accept a role if your leaders and companies ethics dont match up with thier own. Gen X will choose you before you choose them.
Cluture, Ethics and morals
Gen X are the most culture, moral and ethics driven generation we have ever seen entering the workforce. We have all had ethics and morals but GenX put theirs above all else and ensure they act up on and represent them at all times including in place they eat, companies they buy from and comapnies they work for.
Previous Generations have held employers to account of equal pay, equal opportunities, bullying in the work place etc, all standards we have come to expect and demand in the work place. Gen X will build on this with culture and ethics they will force employers to see their environmental responsibilities etc.
How do Gen X know about your culture ethics and morals? After all your a small business, its not like you are weatherspoons hitting the bbc news for sacking all your staff and refusing to furlough them! GenX have a huge research tool avaliable to them in the form of social media. They will google you and your business, they will search facebook, check who’s political posts you shared and endorsed, check how you spend your weekends and judge you and your business on these things. You could lose out employing the best person for your business because you shared a meme you found funny on social media that the ideal candidate found offensive.
Now this part of the presentation has had the wind knocked out its sail recently! In the last ten weeks many have been forced to change from working in offices to working from home and this will become an expectation of Gen X they believe they can do most jobs anywhere utilising the latest softwares and hardwares. They will value flexability in working times and locations over an hourly rate.
If you insist on someone working in and office at fixed times and days you will lose out to employers offering flexability.
Flexability doesnt just cover location it also covers the working patterns and hours. Studies have shown that increased flexible working results in higher productivity and happier staff that are more loyal and better brand amasidors why force a morning person to work 9-5 when they are more productive 6-2? If someone is a night owl and works more productively 4pm-12am? Now we do have to consider our clients expectations but if you could offer support to clients in evenings and facilitate it with some that is more productive in the evening would that add value to your client offering? Other flexible hour patterns are around family life needs.
Flexible working hours also reflects a flexible approach to contracted working hours. Who has been sat around on a Friday watching a clock waiting to go home because you have done all your work but your boss wouldn’t let you go because your contract said your work until 5pm?
Reward your team for productivity, my team have their work load and if its done then they can finish as a reward for being productive and getting work done.
Softwares and processes
Gen X have grown up with pcs, internet, tablets and smart phones, they know what can and cant be done using software and apps and they hate and recent using our dated, slow and inefficient software and processes.
As far as gen x are concerned everything should be cloud based and they should be able to work anywhere but they also want efficient software that makes their jobs easier. Slow, inefficient software that lacks automation will cause tension and if you don’t take on board their suggestions and action them to improve efficiently then the employee will look for an employer that will take on board and help make the employees life easier.
Gen X aren’t lazy but they do not understand or accept wasting their time and jobs taking longer than they should, the benefit of this is increased productivity which is good for the business.
People often ask how do you know you are creating the right culture and team around you. How do you know you are building the right team around you?
Theres lots of little ways you will know such as staff that voluntier to go above and beyond with out you asking, staff that promote your business to future employees and clients.
To conclude, I would like to share an example that has happened in the last two weeks of what happens when you build a team with culture and ethics and the benefits of getting it right.
Two weeks ago today at 8.18am my mum passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. I sent a message to my team what’s app groups saying what had happened and in the last two weeks i have spent 2 hours working. The team has stepped up and handled everything!
They have followed the processes and systems meaning all deadlines have been met in my absence, they have followed up enquiries and sent proposals, they have spoken to all our clients explaining the situation, they managed my emails and our social media, they have checked in with me regularly to check I’m okay and refused to talk work with me. All i have had to do is manage the bank accounts and pay the team on pay day.
I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and caring team, I know I can take as much time out as i need and the business will continue to function and that all steams from our processes, systems and