Every generation tends to be reactive to the generation immediately before it. Or, in another way of looking at it, every generation tends to be more like their grandparents than their parents. Now obviously, these are broad generalities and every person individuates. But, broad categories can be helpful in conceptualizing our leadership thinking and methodologies.
Thus, in general, GenX has more in common with Builders than their parents who were Boomers. Millennials (GenY) has more in common with Boomers than GenX. And today, GenZ, (iGen), is more like GenX than the Millennials. Wise leaders are aware of these generational differences and adapt their leadership styles accordingly.
Ken Blanchard’s seminal concept called Situational Leadership reminds us to adapt our leadership style to the situation of those we are leading. It requires an understanding of the needs and experience of those we are leading, with a balance between being both directive and supportive in our leadership approach.
Wise leaders today will also have to take into account not only the situation they lead into, but also the generational differences of those they are leading. For Baby Boomer leaders to lead a mixed team of Millennials and GenZ, requires a basic understanding of their uniqueness. Adding in differences in gender or culture and you can quickly see how complexity multiplies.
For Kingdom leaders there is good news. We have the Holy Spirit within us to give us the wisdom needed to lead into this complexity with confidence. Yes, pay attention to these generational traits. Be aware of your team’s experience levels as well as cultural or gender differences. But, in the end, listen carefully to the Spirit within you. He knows and He will guide you.
He promises, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV 1984)
Are you aware of your default leadership style? Are you aware of the needs of your team and their individual differences, or are you expecting them to adapt to you? Are you listening to the voice of His Spirit within you as He guides you in your leadership?