Many are worried that as the Boomers retire from the workplace, there will be a dearth of nose-to-the-grindstone, driven, work-comes-first managers. And that may be true. The Boomers are probably the last generation willing to sacrifice family, friends, hobbies, and a balanced life for their place in the corporate sun.
However, the upcoming GenXers, next in line for leadership positions, can take the place of the outgoing Boomers if they are properly supported to do that.
What is proper support for a GenXer?
1. Lots of opportunities for learning.
GenXers respect leaders who have genuine knowledge and expertise. As leaders, they want that for themselves. Give those GenXers you hope to promote to managerial positions dedicated training time in the various functions they’ll need to know about.
2. A good Boomer mentor.
Lots of Boomers want to pass on the knowledge they’ve gained through their long careers. Pair up your GenXer future leaders with willing Boomers. Tell both of them to set aside their criticisms of how the other does whatever, and instead, focus on the job at hand. The Boomer’s is to show how he or she manages, and the GenXer’s is to absorb as much of that management expertise as possible.
Obviously, you can’t “make” a terrific manager out of a shiftless, uncooperative employee. But you certainly can give a willing, engaged GenXer the support and skills he or she requires to become the dynamite manager your business deserve.