The subject this week is something that I get asked about all the time and one in which I am often consulted on. It is the subject of not only communicating with and reaching the emerging generation of young people, but how can we lead them effectively?
I talk to coaches, business leaders, and educators all the time. One common theme that comes out of these conversations is that this emerging generation – referred to as Generation Z or “Gen Z” – is different. This generation of young people who have grown up in the 21st century are the most social, the most empowered, and also the most anxious youth population in human history. Here is an interesting stat to keep in mind. For the most part, these students have all been born since September 11, 2001—a marker in our U.S. history that will always divide those born in the 20th century from those born afterward.
Every time you stand in front of your team members, they are asking themselves two questions: Why should I listen to you? What do you have to offer that's different than other options in my life. This is why relationships matter!
Generation Z–as with any generation–is living in a new “narrative.” They are growing up in a time that is both exhilarating and frightening for them. This is causing changes that can be difficult to understand. In fact, they are so different from older generations that parents and adult leaders can feel both frustrated with them and fearful for them at the same time. Here are a few things that I think can help: