Management styles for Gen-X and Gen-Y
Today's Generation X employees (born between 1960 and 1975) have higher expectations of what managers should do to support them than the Baby Boomer generation had before them. Generation Y (1976-2001) workers have even greater needs for feedback and development. Baby boomers grew up in a time when having a job was considered thanks enough. Gen-Y workers and, to a lesser extent, Gen-X workers, are accustomed to praise, reinforcement and time to develop their interests and skills.
Unfortunately, a growing trend is that today's managers are also 'individual contributors' and spend more time 'doing' than managing. With managers spending more time 'doing', there is a growing capability gap to give workers (particularly the Gen-X and -Yers) what they need. This gap exists for many reasons, including: companies doing more with less people; managers don't know how to provide feedback and develop people; scarcity of rewards; organizations do not place high enough value on the role of the manager.
Employees typically don't leave companies; they leave their managers. Employees want managers that will provide goals, direction, feedback, coaching and who recognize and reward for good performance. Research indicates that management behavior is a key factor in retention, and in fact, has consistently shown that dissatisfaction with one's manager is a top reason for leaving an organization. Some of the most commonly found items predicting intention to leave were: insufficient performance feedback and coaching; insufficient learning and development opportunities; insufficient reward and recognition for work; insufficient sense that their organization values them.
Research has shown that Gen-Xers not only expect feedback, they demand it. Gen-Y workers will demand it even more. A key point to remember is Gen-X and -Y workers are expecting more from their managers and workplaces, not less, and are willing to walk out if they don't get it.
Building management capability goes beyond training. It also includes creating a company culture that values the role management plays in attracting and retaining top talent, and sets clear expectations for the management role.