The era of rigid hierarchies is finally a thing of the past 

The generation gap and its implications

Generational conflict, generation gap, generations at war – the debate about the relationship between the generations in the world of work, politics and society is heated and rife with superlatives. In the course of many years working as a manager and in my work as a consultant at 5P, I can observe on a daily basis what really constitutes the challenges between the generations in day-to-day interaction – aside from theoretical discourse and media-grabbing headlines.

Generation Y and the question of meaning

This much is clear: Generation Y (born between 1980 and 1995) will gradually assume more and more responsibility over the coming years. But what drives them? Is it really the WHY, the purpose, the meaning - or is this Generation Y simply self-centered and skeptical of hierarchies? Having grown up in an economically stable world, typical representatives of this generation no longer see mere financial security or material prestige, but rather their personal impact as the primary goal of their professional role. Years of working one's way up within rigid organizational and hierarchical structures, an approach which previous generations still readily followed, is no longer perceived by Generation Y to be desirable, or better: meaningful. They want to make a difference and live - and they want to do it now. This not only calls classic leadership and career models into question, but also poses challenges for cross-generational teams, because the status that older colleagues have spent years working to achieve is increasingly being challenged and questioned by younger colleagues. 

Leadership among equals

The good thing about all this is that Generation Y, with its focus on meaningfulness and cooperation, has an immense potential for innovation and achievement in its "WHY”. So how can potential be tapped from this generation gap – one that goes far beyond the limits of a simple change of generations and is more like a full-blown cultural change? Managers who want to efficiently integrate young Generation Y employees into work processes, retain them in the long term and develop their potential must do one thing above all: create meaning - and do so on an equal footing. The times of simply doing as one is told are over. And that is a good thing. Today, they challenge their managers right from the start and question their attitude and achievements. In order to deliver performance, Generation Y not only demands a quick briefing and a deadline, but also a strong response to their WHY, as well as active support, information sharing, and involvement in decision-making processes. They want to be involved in shaping the future and be taken seriously as a sparring partner.

Development-focused leadership

In the 5P leadership training courses, we work according to the 5P phase model of development-focused leadership and, together with managers, develop suitable action patterns and methods with which they can integrate, challenge and develop their employees and teams from different generations in accordance with the company's requirements. Managers who not only accept the challenges of each new generation, but actively shape them, are not only more effective in their leadership work, but also make an important contribution to the future success of their company. Because every new generation plants the seeds of the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about the development-focused leadership approach and its application in organizations, just follow the link below or contact us directly.


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