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NEW Leadership Academy spans generations

Friday, August 1, 2014  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 250 NEW members learned strategies to better manage the world's changing workforce during the NEW Leadership Academy webinar "Managing a Multigenerational Team,” Aug. 1.

Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, shared her insights on generational traits and the management skills needed to motivate team members of all ages: Baby Boomers (age 50 to 69), Generation X (age 36 to 49) and Generation Y or Millennials (age 36 or younger).

While today’s workers are on the job well into what was once considered "old age,” by 2025 Millennials will comprise 75 percent of the global workforce, Miller noted. "The media and companies are sitting up and taking notice, and you should, too.”

Working with multigenerational teams presents new management challenges — and opportunities. "If you’re a Generation X or Generation Y member, there’s never been a better time to raise your hand for a leadership opportunity,” Miller said.

Workers of different generations are motivated by different factors, she said. While cash is still the most desired perk for any age group, Generation Y is significantly more motivated by pay than their younger or older colleagues. "But don’t make the assumption that they are materialistic,” Miller said. "They’re dealing with a different economic reality than the generation before them.”

Generation X is attracted to challenging assignments, while Baby Boomers value healthcare and retirement benefits, she added.

Appealing to Baby Boomers’ willingness to "get the job done” will satisfy their traditional work ethic, while Generation X employees place a high priority on work-life balance and aren't as interested as their predecessors in working long hours to climb the corporate ladder. Challenging Generation X to work smarter, rather than harder, will appeal to their professional instincts, Miller said.

Being available by email, instant messaging and texting will is essential for managing Generation X employees. "It will encourage them to reach out when they need support,” Miller noted.

In today's workplace, collaborative decision-making is both an effective tool for managing Millennials and a way to open lines of communication with all generations. "Have clear conversations with the multigenerational team," Miller said. "Share your expectations, and have them share theirs.”

Remember that each generation has different core beliefs and values, and leverage that variety. "Communicate the big goal and communicate the benefit to each generation independently,” she advised.

Members may register for the next NEW Leadership Academy webinar, "Sponsoring Others" on Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. ET, for free and view previous NEW Leadership Academy webinars in the NEW Study Hall.

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