Leadership: The affects of retiring baby boomers and the attributes of next generations
Leadership itself is the act or activity of leading a group, while a leader is defined as the individual that influences that cluster of people and achieves a certain objective. There has been much debate and research on the said phenomenon and related aspects.
Theories of Leadership: For understanding, below are the summarized versions of famous leadership theories;
Authoritarian Leadership: An approach of leadership in which an individual uses strong, instructive and strict actions to enforce the regulations, set of laws, actions and relations in the work place. (Organizational Behavior, Nelson & Quick)
Democratic Leadership: An approach of leadership in which the leaders values and utilizes mutual, sociable and participative measures with the group to motivate and get the best out of them in the work place. (Organizational Behavior, Nelson & Quick)
3. Laissez-Faire: An approach of leadership in which an individual leader fails to accept and play his role instead he uses distortion methods to disrupt the team. (Organizational Behavior, Nelson & Quick)
4. The Michigan Leadership Study:
The Michigan leadership study was the basis of more leadership theories to come. It highlighted two basic leadership approaches:
a. Priority to Production: A system where human feeling is secondary and primary concern is quantity and quality of the production.
b. Employee oriented: An approach that encourages and prioritizes human feeling above all other factors such as profitability and production.
5. Ohio State Leadership Studies:
Identified two dimensions
b. Initiating Structure
6. Theory X and Theory Y:
Identified two approaches to supervision:
Theory X: As defined by Theory X, Supervisors believe that employees are not concerned nor lie their work, only under strict monitoring would they work efficiently.
Theory Y: On the other hand Theory Y explains that supervisors believe that people love their work and enjoy the resulting satisfaction with increase in responsibility.
7. Blake and McCanse's Leadership Grid
Also known as Managerial grid highlights different communication approaches from leaders to workers.
1,1 - Impoverished Management
9,1 - Authority-Compliance
5,5 - Middle of the Road Management
1,9 - Country Club Management
9,9 - Team Management
8. Traits Approach to Leadership
The Trait theory believes that leaders are born with certain qualities that make them different from others and hence they lead due to their inherited qualities.
Numerous studies have been conducted but so far there has been no conclusive proof of certain traits that a good leader is born with:
tallness heaviness look intellect character
The fields or arenas in which these leaders generally exist are;
1. Political Leaders (leaders in national politics)
2. Civic Leaders (leaders in social and public services)
3. Business Leaders (leaders in profit oriented companies)
All these three arenas are different from one another and each holds utmost importance. In all three arenas the need for leaders has grown drastically and the best way of leading people and general practices as defined by different old school theories are replaced by young ideas of upcoming generations.
In this essay we would explore the affects of retiring baby boomers and how the attributes of next generation differ from leaders of past.
It is never the leading style that shapes the population being led it is indeed the population and situation to which a leader moulds his leadership style in order to motivate and influence the followers. During the past two decades we have witnessed a remarkable change in our lives hence work characteristics and priorities have also changed, with it comes an inevitable change in leadership style.
In United States, population of the workers can be divided in to three separate groups;
1. Baby Boomers: People who were born between the years 1945-1964 are called baby boomers. As the name suggest they were sheer in volume (76.8 Million Births).
2. Gen X: People who were born between the years of 1965 -- 1980 are called Generation X or Gen X. (52.4 Million Births)
3. Gen Y: People who were born after 1980 are called Generation Y or Gen Y. (77.6 Million Births)
As numbers suggest there will be a gradual decline of 24.4 Million in the workforce of United States only.
In United States as of January 2009, nearly 75% of non-profit organizations are searching for appropriate leaders for senior positions. Having trouble in doing so a newly released Bridgespan group survey of U.S. non-profit executive directors show that in 2009 despite tight budgets the non-profit organizations need to find leaders for 24,000 vacant or new positions in functional areas after retirements of baby boomers. (Bridgespan group survey of U.S. non-profit executive directors)
Key findings of the survey:
Most obstacles faced when searching leaders included; appropriate compensation and complexity in searching executives with particular skills, as well as increasing competition from the same sector talent pool and scarcity of resources that can be developed as new leaders.
Additional vacancies are also due to resulting retirements of baby boomers, as most of the leaders were from boomers era.
The most essential qualities headhunter look for is not just experience but also the job fitness or cultural fit to the organization.
Job boards surpassed external networking for first place as a way to reach candidates, with 49% of organizations using job boards versus 44% using external networking to identify their candidates (simms, 2010).
In a recent survey conducted by IBM in 40 countries it was found that; three quarters of the participants were concerned about development of new breed of leadership in there organizations. With retirement of experienced personnel, betterment in world economy and emerging markets every organization must work towards development of future leaders who can lead them into the future, fulfill present commitments, lead the employees and innovate / adapt to new technological transformations.
The scarcity of Leaders and diminishing leadership skills are not just apparent in western world. The survey result illustrate that businesses in the Asia Pacific region were the most worried with their skill to develop future leaders (88 per cent), followed by Latin America (74 per cent), Europe, Middle East and Africa, (74 per cent), Japan (73 per cent) and North America (69 per cent) (Paton, 2007).
Between the departure of Baby Boomers and rising of Generation Y, Generation X must do a lot besides being scarce they would be holding together the aged and retired Baby boomers in forms of consultants / trainers and the major task of leading Gen Y which is almost not expected to follow what their legacy. In those times success will have a new meaning it would be defined as what matters to someone personally rather than a rank or seniority.
In 2011 the oldest baby boomer in United States would reach the retirement age of 65. The baby boomers leave behind them certain work characteristics which are somewhat known but differ greatly from work characteristics of Gen X leaders. The difference in work characteristics can be attributed to various factors such as living environment, values, competitiveness and technology.
People in their 20s and 40s show a different work attitude because of their different values. (Stauffer, 1997). Generation X likes taking initiatives and shows off independence whereas babyboomers display diligence and require stability in professional environment. (Loomis, 2000).
While the oldest Gen Y member has only aged 32 and has yet to move in to considerable leadership position, let us see in detail how Gen X differs from Baby boomers in terms of work characteristics.
Baby Boomers believed in good old fashioned Hard Work and staying late on their jobs to impress their superiors. To them workplace was a second home when it came to meeting deadlines.
Gen X believes in working smart and Personal Satisfaction taking off early when they can and delegating work to complete the task more efficiently.
Loyal to employers, baby boomers saw a life time career with one employer as an achievement and switching jobs was a big deal. They respected their employers and valued promotions.
Loyal to skills, Gen X gives importance to their careers but more importance to learning new skills and with it resulting satisfaction on job otherwise switching jobs becomes switching lanes.
Baby boomers believed in specialization and they Preferred to work alone, for them a team meant wasting time on either teaching possessed skills or learning new skills from team members. They believed in closed cabins and less sharing of work.
Gen X believes in Team Work, every success or failure is a group success or a group failure. They celebrate in teams, believe in sharing work and open environment. They cherish diversity and encourage socializing within teams.
Baby boomers followed chain of command, to them obeying orders from superiors was a priority and leaders / managers were followed blindly.
Individual skills matter the most to Gen X they want to be candid and for them a candid and inspiring leader…