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Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
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What Aspects of Leadership Best Motivates Gen Z in Today’s Work Environment?


Jenny was excited to lead her new team until someone pointed out that she was a Gen X-er, and most of her team members were Generation Z. She felt fairly confident about working with them, but she called me to ask if there was anything in particular she should keep in mind.

Gen Z refers to people born between 1997 and 2012. I shared with her that, as with any group, the leadership style that will be most effective in motivating Gen Z depends on a variety of factors, including their individual personalities and experiences.

Here are a few of the general principles Jenny found helpful in motivating Gen Z:

  1. Provide clear expectations and goals. Gen Z-ers tend to value clarity and structure, so providing clear expectations and goals can help motivate them to work towards a specific outcome.
  2. Foster a culture of collaboration and inclusivity. Gen Z tend to value diversity and inclusion, and they often prefer to work in collaborative environments. Leaders can create a culture that encourages teamwork and participation from all team members.
  3. Encourage ongoing learning and development. Gen Z is often motivated by opportunities to learn and grow, so providing opportunities for personal and professional development and training can be a powerful motivator.
  4. Offer flexible work times and locations. Gen Z values work-life balance, and they may appreciate the opportunity to work remotely or have flexible work schedules. Focus on the results they provide instead of the time spent working.
  5. Provide helpful feedback often. Gen Z values ongoing feedback and guidance, so providing regular ideas, motivation, and coaching can be powerful. Some people shy away from providing feedback. Feedback can be positive, not negative. Focus on what is going well and offer help in areas where people seem stuck.

Remember, the best leadership style will vary depending on the individual and the specific situation. It’s important to be flexible and adapt your leadership style to meet the needs of your team.






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