10 Ways Baby Boomers Can Develop Generations X, Y, and Z

ImageThis is the first work place that is comprised of four generations.  The gaps in expectations and culture are great.  Below is a list of 10 ways Baby Boomers can develop the next generation in the work place, written from the perspective of Generation X.

  1. Delegate Relationships, Not Just Work.  Relationships take time to build.  Bring along younger leaders to learn the nuances of your client relationships.  They can be silent observers yet gain much from the experience of high level meetings.
  2. Stop Promising a Transition, “When You Retire”.  Oh my, if I had a dollar for every time a supervisor over the age of 60 promised he was going to retire and hand me the ropes.   Either go or get working, uh!
  3. Identify and Mentor Your Successors.  If you are retiring or winding down in the next 5 years and you haven’t identified and groomed the next leader you have failed in your CEO, COO, or C-Suite Position.  Ensuring long term success of the company is your job.  Do it.
  4. Realize it’s Not about You and Your Career Anymore.  I expect those in corporate and project leadership to be unselfish.  You were given opportunity to release the opportunity to others on your team.  That includes your leadership role.  Don’t hoard your leadership position and create an inner circle of management that is a club of near retirees.
  5. Speak Life and Expect Greatness.  As both leader and mentor you can dramatically shape the self-image of your staff.  Tell them they will be successful.  Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live”.  Choosing life applies to the words spoken and decisions made.  You affect two generations by your words and decisions.
  6. Help Remove the Old Walls.  No company is completely modern but rather a mix of the old and new.  The productivity of your young team may be hindered by ancient corporate walls such as profit-loss centers, cubicles, and bricks and mortar.   Productivity gains await the company that will allow younger workers to create an optimum environment for productivity.
  7. Teach Life Lessons.  Take the time to teach life lessons during the day.  We all can learn from each other and teaching personal life lessons during the work day folds life into work making it rich and enjoyable.  It will also bond you to your team.
  8. Teach the Business Model.  Unless you are GE there is no book your staff can read about how your business model really works.  Teach them the reason for the structure of your multipliers, your super value position, your overhead structure, and how the company will weather a recession.  Teach everything they will need to know to keep funding your retirement (J/K, sort of).
  9. Coach the Next Leader While You are Still Around.  Why not put someone in the leadership position before you leave and stick around for a few years as “CEO Emeritus”.  It works well in academia and we are “learning organizations”, aren’t we?
  10. Value the Intelligence of a Young Team.  When my daughter came home from kindergarten and began teaching me about Venn Diagrams I knew education had changed a lot in the last 30 years.  Today’s 20 and 30 something’s are not only fast and intelligent, but they have been educated to collaborate in groups from an early age.  They understand the systems Baby Boomers are stressed to even use, much less build.  Pull out of your team the ideas they have of the future and help them create it!

Regardless of your age, what are ways you have mentored and developed younger staff to bring out their best performance and most creative ideas?

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