It is a well stated fact that there are five generations today all operating together in the workplace. All have differing views on the workplace, on the world landscape, on sustainability, digitalisation, innovation, and leadership. It was difficult before Covid but has become harder post pandemic as the battle is now on to retain and develop talent. It has forced leadership to change from being arguably quite dominated by a command-and-control approach to one which is more driven by an ethos which is more strategic, open and transparent.
It is easy and a touch simplistic to say that listening is a core communication and leadership skill; however, it is true that leadership listening is becoming an increasing skill as more emphasis is being placed upon the employee experience. We are all being forced to reflect and change. In many ways, this has been a positive, but more questions are being asked of leaders in terms of behaviours and how they lead.
We all need to listen today to understand. One of the clearest examples which we have seen has been with digital service and how each generation views digitally led innovation and service; even to how individual data is used.
However, it is broader and deeper. It refers to sustainability, diversity, business ethics, behaviours and the role of business in community. The younger generations are challenging all to raise the bar, and this is no bad thing as it will drive companies to improve.
However, the danger is that many leaders do not possess either the time or inclination to listen. Many often talk not of the five generations in the workplace but the mindsets of those still in 2019, those who are adapting and those who have a view of the future.
More practically, listening to the views of emerging leaders can only help encourage and engage them by providing different insight onto what is happening with businesses.
There is an interesting debate emerging that asks if CEOs still need the opinions of board members with the growth in available data today at their fingertips. However, the argument goes further as it asks whether they do hear the views of all the generations emerging?
Over the last year, EP has published the views of emerging talent from hotel schools plus also have been developing a team of excellent young talent, asking them to ask new questions. We now launch the themed campaign “Flip the Script” which will ask new entrepreneurs too to also provide their thoughts alongside young business leaders and emerging talent. It should create its own new narrative and ideas to emerge. Our aim, in 2024, is to host a series of events which bring together the next generation to present their thoughts to established leaders.
The aim and objective of “Flip the Script” is to support the voice of the next generations of leaders so we all can be the better for it.
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