Effective Leadership In 21st Century, Part 3

3. 21. 2016

Employees in this age group can be classified under linkster (facebook) generation. They are dependent on technology, they cannot carry out a simple task without using technological gadgets. They are closely connected to the social media and their parents. They spend most of their time on social media.

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Employees in this age group can be classified under linkster (facebook) generation. They are dependent on technology, they cannot carry out a simple task without using technological gadgets. They are closely connected to the social media and their parents. They spend most of their time on social media. They are keen on fashion, lifestyle changes and are social activists. They are courageous and daring. They will come to work with ipods, ipads, and have tattoos all over their bodies (Dorsey, 2010).

They need detailed instructions on carrying out tasks and close supervision or else they might not work effectively. They like social responsibility.

When well-managed, this age group can be of great value to an organization. They are innovative and can come up with ideas that can move an organization to greater heights given the opportunity.

However, this generation in Asia is considered as the “pampered” group because most families are not having many children, especially in China with one child policy.

Thus, they tend to be more vulnerable and sensitive with their superiors’ remarks and appraisal towards their job performance.

Leaders need to motivate employees in this age group by giving them more social responsibilities. They should understand their lifestyle, get closer to them and give them responsibilities according to their passion. This group has a myriad of ideas related to technology, requesting them to air out such ideas can be of great importance to an organization.  They should be mentored by the older generation, be accepted and given opportunities with close supervision. They also need training in their fields to acquire more knowledge and hands on skills.


The older employees that are in the age groups of 60s have vast knowledge and experience that can be of help to the younger generation, the 80s and 90s. The older age group should be appointed to be mentors to the younger ones showing them how different tasks can be carried out and how to achieve the goals. While at the same time, older age group has to listen to younger generation views and ideas respectfully. Once the trusting relationship is built, the generation gap issue may be eliminated easily and working together as a team is definitely possible.

Those born in the 70s have ability to mediate between the age groups.  This group should work closely with the other age groups to make sure that there is no conflict between them.

They can observe and find areas where the age groups have common interest. For example those born in 80s value job security and those born in 60s resist change but both desire training and development. The two age groups can be grouped in areas that fit together.

Organization is advised to ensure promotion and training of all age groups for a harmonious environment. There should be no biasness in promotion or any form of motivation based on age group (Ohlott, 1994).

Those born in the 70s and 80s like working under flexible time and work life balance. They need to be allowed to do so when they are able to perform their duties effectively and efficiently with high productivity.

The youngest group among the 4 generations is the 90’s who need to be nurtured, cared for and listened to. Another concern is how to guide and show them the right direction of their career development, which is of utmost importance if we want to lead them.


Looking at this four generations working together in any organization seems to pose a very challenging environment. In most of my services to organizations in Asia, the common issues are revolving at the team work dilemma; older generation is not very cooperative with younger group and the staff turnover is mostly from generation of the 90’s.

My proposal for clients to tackle the issue always starts with developing all managers with the new leadership principles, and develop their coaching skills so that organization can have more staff engagement activities. This staff engagement platform allows four generations to consistently communicate to understand one another’s mind set, common goals and working patterns.

Managers, who can coach effectively, are the ones who are good listeners, skillful in identifying people strengths and unlocking their potentials to maximize their performance. While coaching skill is easier to learn than to practice effectively, as such all managers in this new leadership era must acquire it as quickly as possible to embrace this rapid changing environment.

Thus, managers should create conducive environment for all employees irrespective of their age and also create flexible working hours. They should keep in mind generational differences when dealing with work ethics and apply different management styles appropriately (Watkins, 1999). The authoritative leadership management style is outdated and is out of place in today’s world.

As quoted by John C. Maxwell: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - in his book Developing the Leader Within You is very well said and practical for all leaders now.

Author: Chong Kwee, Ng, student at LIGS University


Deal, J., Karen, P., & Heidi, G. (2001) Emerging Leaders: An Annotated Bibliography, North Carolina, Centre for Creative Leadership.

Dorsey, J. (2010),  Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons. Inc.

Holtz .G.T. (1995). Welcome to the Jungle. The Why behind Generation X. New York, St. Martin’s Press

Owram, D. (1996).  Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation, Toronto Buffalo London, University of Toronto press.

Ohlott, P. J. & Eastman, L. J. (1994) Age difference in developmental job experiences, Dallas TX,

Smith, A. (2013). The Gen X and Millennial Guide to a Thriving Career, USA, iUniverse LLC

John C Maxwell (2005) Developing the Leader Within You, USA Thomas Nelson

Watkins. C. (1999). Grads to Grannis, Managing the generational gap. Food Management 34(9) 31-25

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