Leadership skills series

Monday, May 01, 2017 12:39 PM
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Multi-generational leadership: Thriving in the workplace

by Chet Seward, Senior Director, Division of Health Care Policy

At the second Physician Leadership Skills Series on April 22, CMS members learned practical, real-world strategies for effective teamwork based on identifying the generational attributes of staff members and capitalizing on each generation’s assets. Speaker David Remson, who has been teaching, training and learning about the multi-generational workplace for over 15 years, defined the working generations:

  • Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964,
  • Generation X, born 1964-1982,
  • Millennials, born 1982-2002, and
  • Post-Millennials, or Generation Z, born after 2003.

As he explained, four generations working side by side presents unique challenges to achieve maximum productivity, efficiency and employee engagement while avoiding generational culture clash.

Millennials expect transparency, participation, collaboration and affiliation. Engaging Millennials means deploying cooperative collaboration, giving them multiple tasks, giving them lots of attention, and fostering “everyone wins” scenarios. Offer coaching, build mentor relationships and ask for their ideas. Millennials can contribute to the workplace by learning to observe, listen and respect others’ knowledge.

Generation X is squeezed between Millennials and Baby Boomers. They prefer directness, sincerity, technology, compensation and independence. Managing Gen X takes finesse: focus on tangible rewards and results, and try not to micro-manage. Gen Xers can work on being approachable, asking for others’ input, giving feedback and celebrating milestones.

Baby Boomers are facing a big decision, to “retire or rewire.” Engaging Boomers means being friendly and welcoming, acknowledging and recognizing their contributions, allowing them process time and being inclusive. Don’t manage Baby Boomers; rather, consult with them, give them leadership opportunities and emphasize teamwork. Boomers can help by being available, not taking things personally, working to modernize, and engaging the team in decision-making.

Generation Z is coming soon. This generation will likely not drive, want to work full-time in a physical workplace, or use cash, email or postage stamps. To attract Gen Z, it’s important to focus on culture, creativity, recognition, connectedness and meaning.

Regardless of which generations comprise a physician’s team, Remson advised attendees to create an environment of inclusion, talk to the team about accommodating differences, and learn more about the strengths of each generation: embrace generational differences as an opportunity.

Make plans to attend future Physician Leadership Skills Series events online or in person. See the full schedule, register for an upcoming program and learn more at www.cms.org/events/leadership-skills.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine


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