Generation Z or affectionately, “Gen Z” are the clued-in, cyber-smart, connected people born during the 1990s, the years when the internet and smart phones were becoming fast, pervasive, and endlessly useful. These people are in their mid-twenties, bringing their special style to office environments throughout the business world. They are the first generation that has never experienced a world without the internet. Knowledge has always been at their fingertips. Communication was always universal, fast and cheap. What will it be like working with people from this generation? And possibly more important, what is the Gen Z leadership style like?
Some professionals look at gen Z with caution. Cary Cooper, a distinguished professor of organizational psychology remarks,
“I don’t think they invest in face-to-face communications. Their ability to communicate when managing staff or making presentations will be less honed than others, but they will have the technical skills that older generations may lack.”
Sonja Stockton, global head of emerging talent at Alexander Mann Solutions says,
“They expect responses to be immediate. The organizations they join may lag behind in terms of technology the person already uses, so that will cause frustration as the employee waits for decisions to be made.”
However, a study of 2,000 Gen Zs and Gen Ys (Millenials) by Jim Link of Randstad North America suggested that Gen Zs may be better prepared than their predecessors to succeed in the modern workplace. Gen Z appears to be more entrepreneurial, more loyal and less motivated strictly by money than previous generations. They appear to be more realistic and more optimistic than Gen Ys.
When you translate Gen Z’s traits into leadership styles, it appears that Gen Z might prefer a culture that enables change and the need to lead toward a technology driven atmosphere, automating processes and utilizing technology in every aspect of the business to optimize results. They also may prefer to work independently, not reliant of traditional office hierarchy. They may prefer to seek their own resources and encourage employees to seek out information immediately, rather than wait for a conference call or meeting next Tuesday.