About a week ago a question was posed on LinkedIn. That question was, “Can GEN Z lead?”
Generation Z, usually shortened to GEN Z and known as zoomers are those people born in the mid-to-late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years.
Many GEN Zers suffered through the COVID years, having their educational experience drastically changed from that of older generations. Most were brought up with a digital tablet or cell phone in their hands. Many prefer to text than to meet with someone face to face or even speak on the phone.
What GEN Z Has To Say
I recently spoke to several GEN Zers and I asked them whether they though they could lead as they entered the workforce either as employees or entrepreneurs. The answer I got was a resounding, “Yes!” I was surprised by their apparent self-awareness of what they assessed to be weaknesses they must improve.
The two primary weaknesses these GEN Zers had consensus on were their weak communication skills and their ability to relate to others face to face. These are two important skillsets for any leader. I think it is refreshing to hear that these young people are aware of what their weaknesses might be.
I think there is a fantastic opportunity for current leaders to mentor, coach, and provide training to the Gen Z workforce. Just like any leadership skill, communication and emotional intelligence can be learned and therefore improved.
I also think it is important not to paint all people from Generation Z with the same broad brush. Just like anyone from any other generation, there are varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses across various leadership competencies.
I believe leaders should spend the time with any GEN Zer coming under their charge to ask those people what they think their strengths and weaknesses are. This will be a good gauge of their level of self-awareness. Leaders should also observe the behaviors of those from GEN Z. Then once the assessment is complete, tailor a training and coaching program specifically designed to help your GEN Z workforce succeed.
I do think Generation Z can lead. Although they seem to get a bad rap at times and I have sensed that some leaders have low expectations of what that generation can accomplish, I remain optimistic. This is based on young people I have worked with and have had serious conversations with. I believe GEN Z does not look at long term employment with any one organization, they have a sense of optimism and believe in themselves. This sense of optimism, if it coincides with a good work ethic, will serve GEN Z well.
About John Gronski
Major General John L. Gronski (U.S. Army Retired) is the founder and CEO of Leader Grove LLC, a leadership consulting firm. John is the author of two books, “Iron-Sharpened Leadership” and “The Ride of Our Lives” and he is an international and Fortune 500 speaker.
A decorated combat Veteran, infantryman, and Ranger School graduate, John is a transformational leader and has significant experience in business as a management consultant, where he led teams implementing large, complex projects. He now serves as an executive coach, leadership consultant, and trainer.
Learn more about John Gronski at https://johngronski.com/