It’s Time to Develop Your Gen Y and Gen Z Managers

Gen Y and Gen Z workers will compose the majority of the workforce by 2025! Therefore, it is no surprise that many of these younger workers are already taking up leadership/management roles. According to one study, 27% of Gen Y are already managers, 5% are in senior management, and 2% are executives. With this new generation of management, many organizations are scrambling to train them (with some companies provide no training at all).

The problem: many leadership training programs fail.

TrainingIndustry.com estimates that leadership training is a $ 366 billion global industry, and yet, a study by McKinsey revealed a surprising state about the leadership industry: most of these leadership programs fail to create the desired results. This seems to be partially the fault of the one-size-fits-all approach that many programs run. Non-interactive leadership programs and lack of follow-up also leads to a decrease efficacy of these programs. Simply put, blanket leadership programs DON’T work, and inadequate leadership can give rise to a myriad of talent issues including an increase in employee turnover and employee disengagement. Below, we list several ideas to develop your Gen Y and Gen Z managers.

1) Create customized leadership programs

One size does not fit all. There needs to be a push to develop a customized leadership program based on your company’s needs. Leadership development is not effective without a clear context and cultural understanding, and different organizations value different skills and competencies.

HR leaders need to be able to develop programs that work with their organization culture and emphasize the values and behaviors that they expect their managers to role model. For example, if creating and sustaining a culture of feedback is important to an organization, HR leaders need to ensure that they are getting effective feedback training (like focusing on behaviors that can be changed and not on traits which cannot be changed).

2) Enable multi rater feedback (360-degree feedback)

While training managers is incredibly important, we have to realize that training cannot guarantee great leadership! A great (and cost effective) way to train managers is enabling continuous 360-degree feedback. While some organizations may hesitate on enabling continuous 360-degree feedback (particularly if they are implementing it for the first time), they need to realize that the majority of employees actually want more feedback!

Managers should be getting regular feedback from their managers, but they should also receive feedback from their team members including their direct reports. Feedback are the data points which give insight into the manager’s skills and competencies. It also increases a manager’s self awareness, and a high self awareness is often what separates high-performers from their peers in the workplace.

Of course, HR leaders need to ensure these new managers are receiving sufficient quality and quantity of feedback. Continuous 360-degree feedback is great, but 30 “good jobs” or “kudos” won’t develop your managers. Feedback has to be effective to be useful.

3) Enable the right tools and capture the right data

If you want managers to improve, the right technology and processes need to be implemented. Past performance should be accessible to managers so that they can review their past feedback and their direct reports’ past feedback. Having a performance management software can help document and store all of this feedback data. It also makes following up on previous feedback a lot easier. Another advantage of newer performance management software systems is the people analytics feature that many of them provide – managers can view their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. In the age of Big Data, we should be using it to make strategic business decisions that are objective and meaningful – in this case, people data can be used to make better talent and training decisions.

4) Coaching and mentoring

Both executive coaching and mentoring can be very beneficial to leaders. Many senior leaders often cite their own mentors who have helped them. The effect of coaching and mentorship will largely depend on the coach or mentor. The most effective mentors challenge, encourage, and question. Moreover, a coach or mentor doesn’t have to be someone’s direct manager – consider pairing an employee with another manager or finding an external third party.

Conclusion

People don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. It’s time to train our managers to be great, not just good.

A version of this post originally appeared here.

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Author: Chiara Toselli

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