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Article by LK Kandpal- Challenges for Leaders and Mangers in a Multigenerational Workforce

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Leadership in multi-generational workforce.
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  Challenges for Leaders and Managers in a Multigenerational WorkforceLK Kandpal Overview One thing which we should understand is that generational diversity is not a recent phenomenon. This issue may have been in prevalence since the inception of any organization as in any organization, we have always had a work force of varied age groups. Further, this is a universal issue. Having said that, this term is now more in discussion because of today’s generation in the age group of ! #!, who are more creative and liberal in their attitude. These are the people who are born in the age of social media techno savvy and at times $uite rebellious. %ecause of their straightforwardness, the leaders, who are from a different generation particularly, in their &!’s or '!’s, definitely face a great challenge in handling this generation. Broad Division of Age groups %roadly, we can divide the workforce in four age groups. (.'! and above.)& '!#.#( ))).(* #! The first two groups are traditional in their approach. +t is often complained that they are not receptive to changes and that they will oppose any new idea. nd, then they have comple-es thatthey know everything. The most difficult group to handle with is the last group, also known as the millennial. +t is generally felt that this net generation has an attitude problem. This generationis believed to be restless. The challenge for leaders and managers is to maintain a harmony  between all these groups. The problem can be two fold the leader/manager is from the younger generation and has to handle the workforce of older generation, who report to him0 or the leader/manager is older generation in '!’s and has to get work from the younger generations,  particularly the net generation. 1eaders and mangers in both the situations have to be sensitive and tactful in dealing with the employees. First and second group have a rich e-perience and if dealt with carefully, can be $uite productive for the organization. 2imilarly, the generation 3 or 4have new ideas.  mi- of all these groups can be $uite healthful for an organization. Closer Look at the Issue +f we look closely at this, we find this problem similar to what we have in our society in general as well, even in 5oint families in some countries, where this practice is prevalent. This is also described as generation gap, where the new generation finds it difficult to ad5ust with the older  generation. There is likelihood of difference of opinion between parents and their children. +t will be appropriate to $uote the following lines of le-ander 6ope, %ritish satirical poet. ''We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; Our wiser sons, no doubt will think us so.''  This is a challenge for the society in general. The older generation has to be understanding and sensitive towards the feelings of the younger generation while the younger generation has to respect the elders. There has to be a fine relationship between all generations for a harmonious society. A Great Challenge and Opportunit 7reat leaders take this diversity as challenges and opportunities, where their leadership skills are tested. This diversity can be harvested in the most productive manner for the benefit of an organization.  good manager/leader will try to understand the differences between these variousage groups and then assign the task and duties according to the ability and strength of each employee. The problem may not arise if the leader is professional but competent and tactful.  good leader will make the best use of the varied talent and e-perience available with him/her. The generation 8 or 3 is $uite vocal. They may look restless and at times undisciplined but they are fearless and frank. They are goal oriented. 9hat they want is clarity of thoughts and direction. They will deliver in time. They are innovative in their approach. They are neither disrespectful nor irresponsible. They need good and efficient leaders, who understand them and can get work from them. Conclusion To sum up, a multigenerational workforce is an asset not a liability.  competent leader/manager e-ploits the diversity to the advantage of the organization. He/she makes an analysis of the situation and will prepare a plan for the functioning of theo&rgganization according to the diverse background and skills of the people working with him. The mi- of people with varied e-perienceand novel ideas can be a great advantage to the leader/manager.  great leader will take this variety as a challenge and opportunity for his/her own growth and that of his/her organization.
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