Inspiring Generation Z with Transformational Leadership

I was stuck right in the middle. I brought a group of GEN Y and GEN Z college students on a service trip involving our faith. The coordinator for our service project was a good man with great intentions for the team. However, he managed the group as an authoritarian leader with a  militaristic top-down approach. Feedback and input were not necessarily desired. While I was accustomed to this style and could adjust, this leadership style did not resonate well with the young members of the group.

He conveyed to me that the students complained too much about the circumstances while the younger members complained about the leader not listening or caring about them. The relationship could have gone south. I provided each group a different perspective about each other. The leader attempted to make changes, including asking for my input from the group and the young members responded by acknowledging his attempt to build bridges. From that point, the group was able to achieve more and have a better relationship within the group. The situation reaffirmed to me the importance of understanding generational issues and how to inspire younger generations toward great performance.

In today’s organizations, they face an arsenal of disruptive change and chaos all around us.

Disruptive change speaks the changing nature of our society. In fact, our extensive experience about the past can haunt us in a world riddled with uncertainty. Having young employees who are technologically savvy and adaptable to these environmental climates could help an organization succeed. Yet, many executives do not know how to recruit, retain, or to inspire these young generations.    

As a result, organizations that wish to compete today must understand how to inspire Generation Z employees for sustainable success. However, this task is not easy. When Generation Y (aka Millennials) entered the workplace for the first time, some managers were given bad advice. The advice included telling managers to praise Millennials regardless of their performance, reward them for just showing up to work, put hand-held devices in the hands (and get out their way), and allow them come to work whenever they want to (allow them to bring their puppies). In this scenario, the workplace becomes a magical place where every workday is filled with fun and excitement.

That advisement was misleading and created unrealistic expectations of the workplace and resentment from older generations. What organization can afford to get Generation Z wrong under this global landscape?  Thus, understanding generational issues can assist managers with a multi-generation workforce and lead them toward greater performance as a team. In this discussion, I will examine how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.

Today’s businesses cannot afford to overlook Generation Z. For the first time in history, five generations are co-existing together in the workplace. Each generation has distinct attributes, such as belief systems, expectations, and behaviors. Managing Generation Z will not be easy. Generation Z is the most global, diverse, technological, and entrepreneurial generation ever. In fact, they have never known a digital world without smartphones and social media. In general, they were born in 1995 and after. This generation makes up about 26% of the U.S. population. Each generation is shaped by parenting and its social environment. Managers should not merely lump Generation Y and Generation Z in the same category. Some experts note that Generation Z is more focused than Generation Y or Millennials.

Forbes contributor Deep Patel in his article “8 Ways Generation Z Will Differ From Millennials In The Workplace” notes that Generation Z are more independent thinkers than Generation Y. He adds, “While millennials are often seen as more idealistic, and more motivated by purpose than a paycheck, Generation Z may lean more toward security and money. This is a pragmatic generation — they care about making a difference, but are ultimately motivated by ensuring they have a secure life outside of work. If you’re looking to recruit members of Generation Z, you may be able to tempt them with promises of job security and raises down the line.” Given the unique characteristics of Generation Z, employers cannot afford to use the same old recruitment and retention strategies on this younger generation.

Dr. Green reads to Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

In this unstable environment, organizations need the right type of leadership for Generation Z employees. These younger employees will tend to respond better with transformational leadership than a transactional leadership style. In a nutshell, all managers are not leaders. Some managers are great at defining tasks and having the employees work toward that goal. They rule by their position in the organization. Otherwise, no one would follow them. In fact, these same managers are lousy at inspiring their employees. In transactional leadership, individuals lead others in an ‘exchange’ of work for rewards/punishment. If employees completed the assigned work scope, they would be compensated with wages, full employment, or other benefits; likewise, if they do not perform, they could be punished or fired.

Dr. Green attempted to connect with Generation Z students at Revelation Ministries in Cape Town, South Africa.

Whereas transactional leadership rarely produce zealots who are inspired in organizations, transformational leadership has the ability of getting the greater buy-in of followers. In the simplest sense, transformational leadership can be defined ‘as a leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems…it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.” Generation Z employees need leaders who can connect with them and inspire them toward greater achievements. Generation Z are realistic and concerned about their safety and the world. Some would call them anxious. According to one study, 58% of Gen Z’s are either somewhat or very worried about the future. Below are some interesting statistics on Generation Z:

  • 66% say that technology makes them feel that anything is possible.
  • 76% feel that their online experiences will help them reach their goals.
  • 79% display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices.
  • 72% of Gen Z want to start a business someday.
  • 30% feel their college has failed at teaching them applicable real-life business skills.

Leadership guru Dr. Richard Daft argues that transactional leadership may not be enough in a disruptive, changing world: “Transactional skills are important for all leaders. However, in a world in which success often depends on continuous change, organizations also need transformational leadership…Transformational leadership is based on the personal values, beliefs, and qualities of the leader rather than on an exchange process between leaders and followers. Given the generational characteristics of Generation Z and the need for success in organizations, the following suggestions are offered to lead this generation:

  • Create a shared vision within the organization.
  • Get to know employees, especially newer ones in the organization.
  • Define goals, objectives, and desired objectives, making boundaries clear.
  • Ask for feedback when appropriate and follow-up on the endpoint.
  • Show how each person is valued within the organization.
  • Seek to inspire employees by tapping into their intrinsic rewards.
  • Build teamwork in the organization with group incentives (i.e., bonuses).

With continual pressures to compete, today’s businesses need to have employees who are adaptable to disruptive changes. In our society, there are 5 generations that co-exist in the workplace. Perhaps, Generation Z with its diversity and ingenuity may be the best of all generations. Yet, managers who do not understand Generation Z employees may not be able to get the most out of them. In our discussion today, I outlined how today’s organization can inspire Generation Z employees with transformational leadership.  Unlike transactional leaders, transformational leaders must tap into their followers to find what motives them. Working with Generation Z employees will pose the same type of challenges. With change continuing to be more rapid and unpredictable, today’s organizations cannot hope to succeed without getting the best out of each employee. We pray that it is not too late to inspire Generation Z in your own organizations.

Please share your insight on this topic.

© 2018 by D. D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:
Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired as a senior engineer and program manager with the Department of Energy after a successful career. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit http://www.drdarylgreen.com.

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The Secret Formula to Connect with Generation Z Revealed: Creating Better Schools and Gaining More Profit in Business

Dr. Daryl Green presents useful strategies to help people better connect with Generation Z. With a greater understanding of this new generation, today’s business and academic institutions can reach success in more effective ways.

Dr. Daryl Green is an international researcher and author. In a recent seminar to educator and administrators in Oklahoma, he outlines how individuals can better connect with Generation Z, those who were born in 1995 and after. This generation is considered to be the most differs, global, entrepreneurial, and technological generation that ever exists in the world. Now in the United States, this generation places 26% of the total population. To know better about the Generation Z, the following statistics might help:

• 30% of them think that do not get applicable business skills needed for real life when they were students in college.

• 66% have an opinion that the technology exists now makes it possible for them to do anything.

• 72% of of this generation have a dream to build their own business.

• 76% argue that reaching their goals is now possible due to their online experiences.

• 79% show emotional distress whenever they can’ access their personal electronic devices.

Dr. Green has identified 5 main characteristics of Generation Z, they are technology dependent, culturally diverse and inclusive, independent thinkers, entrepreneurs, and socially conscious. The secret formula to dig out all of the potentials inside Z Generation consists of some important keys, include:

• Communicate in ways to get frequent feedback.

• Connect to them digitally.

• Give them chances to make innovation at the working place.

• Give instructions in smaller segments only.

• Give them practical and relevant experiences in their learning in the classroom.

Organizations need to foster good human capital behaviors. Every generation is different. We also bring our own generational biases into the workplace. However, Generation Z employees are a great asset to organizations with their fresh ideas and technology intuitiveness. We need to do a better job of handling them in the workplace than we did for Generation Y. If we are successful as leaders in doing this, there will be a huge return on investments,” Dr. Green said.

About Dr. Daryl D. Green

Dr. Daryl D. Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. Dr. Green is also an award-winning author and professional speaker. Currently, he is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired from the Department of Energy as a senior engineer and program manager. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit www.drdarylgreen.com.

Contact:
Dr. Daryl Green
405-585-4414
Daryl.green@okbu.edu

10 Steps To Spot Unethical Leaders

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Have you seen the number of scandals in today’s organizations?  Government! Business! Non-profit organizations! Religious entities! No institution is exempted.  But—followers of these organizations deserve better!

Sadly, many employees chuckle at their bosses when they lecture them about ethical behavior in their organizations (typically because their management is not…ethical).  With the continual unethical behavior patterns of several leaders, today’s workers are more cynical about their leaders than ever.  In today’s discussion, we will evaluate how to spot unethical leaders in organizations. Continue reading

An Uncertain World: Mapping Out Trump-Kim’s Nuclear Challenge

We live in a world riddled with risk and uncertainty. If you don’t believe this statement, please check the news. For example, President Trump increased global tension by canceling the US-North Korea summit in Singapore. Too many, canceling the historical meeting between the two countries were no surprise. Columnist Zach Beauchamp put it bluntly, “From the get-go, the Trump administration wanted something North Korea was never going to give: the North handing over its entire nuclear arsenal before the United States gave it anything tangible…there’s a fundamental flaw with America’s approach to North Korea that preceded Trump. That’s the fantasy that the US can somehow convince North Korea to voluntarily give up its nukes.”

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President Trump and North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un have hurdle insults at each other (especially through social media) for months. President Trump proclaimed about Kim: “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.” Kim fires back to Trump: “If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike. The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.” This rhetoric between the two leaders have many citizens worried about a nuclear war. Continue reading

Disruptive Change: How Leaders Navigate Uncertainty

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As companies continue to wage war with global competition and attempt to figure out their next steps due to advanced technologies, organizations are dealing with unpredictable change that is disruptive. In fact, disruptive change is impacting everyone in all walks of life, from Wall Street to entertainment. The casualties of disruptive change are evident.

In a statement to the Associated Press about joining a Silicon Valley boardroom, Serena Williams said, “I feel like diversity is something I speak to. Change is always happening. Change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of change and to make it easier for the next person.”   we will examine disruptive change and what leaders can do to navigate the resulting uncertainties.

Disruptive change is wrecking traditional thinking of industries and institutions. Long-standing organizations have long attempted to maintain the status quo, allowing flagship institutions like Harvard University and Princeton lead the pack. Non-traditional institutions, like the University of Phoenix, were frowned upon by academics because it was a for-profit university growing by using non-traditional models like online learning.

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Building A LinkedIn Profile for More Job Opportunities

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Today’s college students face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look to this Millennium generation to infuse bright ideas and energy into their organizations. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desire from potential employees (i.e. college students), and today’s job seekers’ expectations of employers.

I often spoke on this matter and wrote these discoveries in several formats including articles, books, and lectures. With that said, I believe marketing these concepts are also vital on Bison Hill too. In this discussion, we will examine how an effective LinkedIn.com profile can be utilized to showcase students’ potentials to future employers and increase their personal brand.

Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com.  Eighty-nine percent of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com.

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The Power of Gratitude for Professionals

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I watched people get on and off the elevator at work. It was crowded with working professionals. Being a young employee, I and the janitor were strategically located in the back of the elevator. I greeted the janitor since I routinely would speak to all employees, regardless of their pecking order in the organization. Other professionals ignored this janitor in the elevator as if his existence didn’t matter. When the janitor or other service folks would do something for me, I would say ‘thank you.’ Well, I’ve done this act of gratitude as part of my learning from my parents who were hardworking class people. My mother would tell us (children): “You can’t go wrong doing good for others.” I believed her.

Yet, we live in a selfish world where the needs for themselves supersede the needs of others, with gratitude and thanks being a rare commodity in today’s working culture. When I talk with my college students, I attempt to show them how the little things like ‘thank you’ cards to guest speakers in class is more than a cute idea. For me, gratitude is a connection with humanity. Gratitude shows that you care. In fact, those individuals that master this act of kindness will have a competitor advantage over those who do not practice this virtue. Let’s examine the concept of gratitude for today’s working professionals in society.

Professionals must overcome a world of selfishness in order to appreciate gratitude. Employees face a gloomy landscape before them with global competition reducing their standard of life and wages stagnant. People aren’t feeling thankful and grateful to be moving backward to the standard of living that their own parents had. Statistics support this ingratitude emerging before us. According to a 2014 Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, the majority (52%) of US workers are not satisfied with their jobs. In 2010, worker dissatisfaction was at an all-time low of 43%.

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Marketing students (MKTG 3303) take photo with Enterprise Manager Jackie Lovejoy. The students thanked her.

Columnist Susan Adams has been tracking this unhappiness trend: “What worries workers most: layoffs. Even though hiring has picked up, only 46.6% of employees say they feel satisfied with their job security, compared to 48.5% before the recession.” Working professionals have many stressors to consider including layoffs, family issues, health care cost, career advancements, and wage compensation. How in the world can gratitude be at the top of their list for developing?

Gratitude is an invaluable trait in a world built of self-promotion and personal gratification. President John F. Kennedy said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Management expert Brian Tracy further expounded on this concept of gratitude: “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

Gratitude can be defined as ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Some people will argue that gratitude is rooted in biblical truths and communal relationships in society. From a faith perspective, gratitude is not taking. It is about giving to others despite how others have treated you.

II Corinthians 9:11 reads “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Even if you don’t possess a religious bone in your body, showing individuals appreciation who do good for you can’t be foreign. Yet, the concept of gratitude is difficult to implement in the face of trials and tribulations in life. If people are able to look at others who are in a worse situation and appreciate the fact that they are better off, it is possible for gratitude to grow in people. Given the fact that gratitude is connected to relationships, words like gratitude, giving, and thanks are themes of helping and appreciating others in life.

Unfortunately, developing gratitude in working professionals is a difficult task. Many organizations are built on power structures that reward takers and those individuals who are great at putting situations at their own advantage. Most of who are only vaguely interested in recognizing or thanking others if doing these actions will benefit them professionally.

Some business-oriented individuals may argue that this gratitude characteristic is a weakness in a corporate rat race and that takers are at the advantage. In contrast, Dr. Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drive Our Success, explains the different mentality of givers and takers in the workforce: “Takers have distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give. They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interest ahead of other’s needs…If you are a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis; you help whenever the benefits to others exceed personal cost.”

Dr. Grant’s research further demonstrated that givers are more successful in the long-run. Helping others provide leverage and influence in life. Givers are better at giving than takers because of their genuineness in striving to be generous in their time, energy, skills, knowledge, and connections to benefit others. How do I grow my gratitude in my life? That’s a great question to consider.

Unless it’s Thanksgiving or a special occasion, most professionals will not consider the merits of gratitude in helping them in life. This article demonstrated that employees are unhappy in the workplace and face many hardships in life that causes them to look inside themselves instead of helping others. Gratitude is a soft skill that has a positive effect on others.

Even celebrities like Marilyn Monroe realized the importance of gratitude: “When you have a good friend that really cares for you and tries to stick in there with you, you treat them like nothing. Learn to be a good friend because one day you’re gonna look up and say I lost a good friend…Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.” Life is a like a blade of grass that passes with time. Gratitude is something that you can use for a lifetime. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

© 2016 by Daryl D. Green

Humility in Leadership: The MIT Principle

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I just sat and listened. Bob, the director, talks about how the universities wanted to give back to the society. In fact, this prestigious university opened its doors to young engineering students who were a part of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Faculty and staff were all communicating that the impossible was possible. The place was the highly regarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory. Everyone goes by their first names, doctorate or not. Egos are checked at the door (well everyone is brilliant).

One MIT staff member explains this reality, “Everyone here is smart.” If someone comes in cocky, there is someone who is smarter than him in another area. That keeps people ‘in check’. I was a little stunned. I had imagined an MIT culture where innovative mavericks were left to their own devices independent of others to produce incredible solutions for society. Yet, sharing, service, and working together appeared to carry a lot of weigh on campus.

Many people feel that leadership is about being the brightest and sharpest ‘cat on the block.’ At times, I have worked with some of the most brilliant people in the world, having federal oversight of two national laboratories in my career. This article examines the concepts of humility in today’s leaders. Additionally, the MIT Principle is developed so that all leaders understand that even high achievers need a sense of humility to work in high performing organization.

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Even brilliant students at MIT need humility in order to be successful on campus. The MIT Principle, as I dubbed, can be an important lesson to learn. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a special place filled with innovators and overachievers. MIT is a private institution which was founded in 1861.1 In 2016, MIT was ranked 7th best university in the nation in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities.

The school’s mascot is a beaver, which MIT chose because of its “remarkable engineering and mechanical skill and its habits of industry.” High achievers from across the nation flock to MIT to gain great tutorage in their disciplines and make their market on society with their ‘geniusness.’ MIT boasts in highly regarded programs in engineering, management, and sciences. Additionally, research expenditures generally exceed $650 million each year. 2

In MIT culture, students are expected to be leaders in their respective fields and problem solvers with new novel ideas. Yet, collaboration is a high principle at MIT. In fact, sharing and service are part of this culture. Students, faculty, and support institutions are expected to work together for a common good. Given this scenario, each student must find a valuable contribution that he/she can make to the student project, teams, and industry collaborations. Even the most brilliant individual at MIT must apply some humility in being successful because they must submit to the good of the organization instead of their own selfish ambitions. The MIT Principle states that in order to achieve overall success for the organization or team, individuals at some point will have to sacrifice their own personal goals for the organization.

Dr. Green’s Visit to MIT (Animoto video) – Click Here

Humility is a character trait that will serve leaders well in a knowledge-based economy. Humility can be defined as ‘a modest or low view of one’s own importance.’ When one thinks about humility, one of the first adjectives that come to mind is humble or humbleness. Some ideas come to mind about a humble individual; not proud or arrogant. If you are a sport fan, you have probably seen star athletes that ‘show boat’ and bring attention to themselves that they are great.

Certainly, some of the greatest like Muhammad Ali used this attitude to build his own confidence. Ali noted, “At home I am a nice guy; but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.” Humility often requires a person to defer or submit to other people.

Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan theologian in the 18th century, examined the matter of humility in human existence; he defined a humble man as one who is sensitive to his natural distance from God.3 Thus, man has a dependency on God that shows humans their insufficiency of their own wisdom and power. Edwards explained: “Some persons are always ready to level those above them down to themselves, while they are never willing to level those below them up to their own position. But he that is under the influence of true humility will avoid both these extremes.

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On the one hand, he will be willing that all should rise just so far as their diligence and worth of character entitled to them; and on the other hand, he will be willing that his superiors should be known and acknowledged in their place, and have rendered to them all the honors that are due to them.” Leaders are no exception. Leadership guru, John Maxwell notes, “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” The following are ways that leaders can cultivate a humble spirit:

* Have a faith that supersedes your wisdom.
* Learn lessons from each defeat, dejection, and heartache in which you have no control and are forced to humility.
* Respect others regardless of their position and title in your organization.
* Seek wise counsel from folks you trust and who have an interest in your success.
* Learn how to listen to others.

As organizations research ways to be more effective and productive, leaders explore how they can navigate uncertainty. Leaders can start by applying some humility in the manner that they relate to their employees, managers, and other stakeholders. Like MIT, individuals often need to control their own personal ambitions in light of the organization. If organizations are willing and capable to infuse their organizations with a good sense of humility, they will be infusing their organizations with a healthy trait that will serve them well in the current climate of uncertainty. I pray that it’s not too late for them!

© 2016 by Daryl D. Green

Sources

“Massachusetts Institute of Technology” by Colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com

“Jonathan Edwards” by Theopedia.com

 

Leading Change in a Global Environment

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Global affairs are often unstable. This month, Japanese stock market falters again, capping its worst single-week performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Japan is not alone in its underperforming markets. Yet, globalization has connected countries through various elements. Financial markets are not an exception. This article explores issues of change in a global environment and discusses the merits of change agents in today’s organizations. Continue reading