Management Success Tip #164: Keep Your Talented GenXers Motivated: Give Them Project and Time Ownership

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Overall, GenXers are not fond of authority. They prefer to march to their own drummer, which makes many a manager nervous and turn into a micro-managing freak: a GenXer’s worst nightmare.

Instead of trying to corral your GenXers onto the anointed path, keep them on target by giving them ownership of their projects and tasks, with clearly delineated goals and dates-due. Step back, and let them at it!

A 2011 survey from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) found that nearly three-quarters of GenXers (70%) prefer to work independently, and that the great majority of them value having control over their work, not only in terms of how they approach the work itself, but also includes their preference for flexible work hours and location (home/office).

GenXers are highly entrepreneurial. You can put those skills to work even within the framework of your department or company. All it takes is a willingness to let your GenXers be in charge of how they get the work done (within agreed-upon boundaries, of course), and acknowledge their brilliance in getting the work done.


Management Success Tip #50: GenXers: Support Excellence In Our Next Generation of Leaders!

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Baby Boomers may linger–seemingly forever–but they are indeed leaving the ranks of leaders, and in a decade or two at most, will be gone entirely. Well, all right, there may be a few stalwarts hanging on, but they will be very very few . . .

Savvy businesspeople have known this and have been cultivating the best and brightest of the upcoming GenXers for years. But what about the rest of them? What about the 90%+ of your GenXers not currently groomed for promotion? Are they to be forgotten again, as has happened so often to this generation?

That would be a dreadful waste of human potential and business capital! There are phenomenal employees within your unexplored GenXers who just need some nurturance to become good supervisors, department heads and upper management. To support their growth, consider the following:

1. Provide lots of on-line and on-site training (as budget allows) in a variety of disciplines. GenXers enjoy learning, and are more responsive when learning isn’t solely targeted to their immediate job.

2. Give your GenXers opportunities to learn what goes on in different departments, whether that’s by having them assigned to an experienced “buddy” for a short stint in an unfamiliar department, or by encouraging lateral moves through the company.

Trader Joe’s” employees literally rotate positions throughout the store during the course of a single day, such that every employee learns most of the store’s positions. This is good for the company, but also for the employee, who doesn’t get stale and bored manning the cashier booth day in day out, for example.

3. GenXers are the most entrepreneurial generation that’s come along in quite a while. Encourage your GenXers to head up projects, or take the lead on teams. It’s good training for future leaders, and will allow those who are particularly adept to rise to the challenge and provide you with yet another valuable pool of leaders.