What are the future Leaders of Z generation concerned about?

By Pablo Maison de Buenos Aires city, Argentina

Translated by Lucila Agustina Norry from Buenos Aires, Argentina

When is Z generation getting to work?

In this article, I want to invite you to reflect on the appearance and impact on site of Z generation from the analysis of Y generation.

By virtue of my book “El trabajo en la posmodernindad” (“Work in post-modern times”) about the impact of Y generation on the world of work, there happened some events that surprised me, all of which explains how difficult is to understand another generation from the viewpoint of a different one.

I expected, what finally happened, that many same-generation individuals felt attracted by or interested in my proposal and approached the book from a personal search to understand the “whys” and “hows” of the Y youth influence.

This interest arose mainly due to the discussion between parents and children on the text (encouraged mainly by parents). They were more attracted by a chapter in which I dared to express some ideas about what it is and will be the introduction of Z generation, current children and teenagers, to social/labor interaction.

What surprised me of this situation was that “Y” youth approaches me or writes to me because they are concerned about their future role as leaders of the “Zs”.

This concern called my attention for three reasons:

–          From the viewpoint of other generations, we may not be able to perceive the substantial difference between current young people and adolescents. We believe they are the same. But, clearly, it is a strong personal limitation that makes us unable to differentiate behavior and ways of relating in people who have an age difference of 10 or 15 years.

–          Not surprisingly for Y generation, the Zs (who maybe brothers, cousins or younger acquaintances) represent a big challenge, bigger than the challenge of relating to those who are older. All of which makes clear that knowledge of younger ones  by older generations is still a huge difficulty, though we think technology gap is even smaller, as it is clearly like that.

–          I was mainly consulted about the issue of leadership. There is a sensation that children and teenagers are “impossible” to lead today, due to their lack of interest in hierarchies and, above all, in being guided in a traditional way. Even more significantly than theirs.

These questions made me think and analyze which are the most significant differences between the Zs and Ys that may be of much concern for these future leaders. Obviously, in this context, I can’t discuss in detail the characteristics and intergenerational impact, because I would need to write many more pages and that may be boring.  But, at least, I would like to set the basis for future discussions. I accept that I have an advantage.

I have three Z children and there is nothing from which I can learn more but from the interaction with them.  When I say learn, I do not say it in an ideal sense, but from the possibility of exploring the world of the future. That is certainly a great learning. It is a possibility of seeing and understanding the future from the present.

Which are the most marked characteristics between Y and Z generations? I can name many but I chose these 3 because they are the ones which have more impact on the future world of work:

–          Digital natives vs. digitally integrated people: The Ys were born with technology but had some barriers compared to the Zs: the keyboard and the absence of social networks.

These two elements are defining. The first one because it implies the access of Zs to technology from a much earlier stage. The “touch screen” changed the world, basically because kids, since they are 2 years old, can have an active relationship with technology without the need of handling technological devices by means of fine motor skills (the mouse) or literate understanding (the keyboard). Regarding social networks, as they get access to them from an early age, they establish virtual connections much earlier, all of which definitely impacts on the way they communicate and establish relationships.

The consequence of this is an even more fragmented and unstructured communication, difficulties in face to face communication, faster responses, inability to wait for contact and increasing lack of focus and concentration.

–          Limits dilution: as children from a generation who lived the end of a dictatorship and the legalization of divorce, as the two tips of the iceberg from a society which had the possibility of broadening democratic limits, on one side, and transforming old family mandates, on the other side, Z generation could challenge limits, be against and argue about family rules with much more frequency than previous generations. Emotion invaded (luckily!) the father/mother/child relationships. Furthermore, divorces and very busy parents, working outside home, invited a new guest to the father/mother relationship: the feeling of guilt.

This combination of broaden limits to discuss problems or situations, more emotional contact and the appearance of guilt generated positive and negative effects. The truth is that these kids are prepared for challenging limits and hierarchies much more frequently than in the past. Therefore, they represent a double challenge to new bosses and organizations.

–     Definite disappearance of vocation: If in Y generation, the idea of vocation started to be diluted, in Z generation, this idea practically disappears. Due to the above mentioned and well understood concept of “liberality”, parents move away from the idea of “imposing” what children must be in the future. The idea that children and teenagers discover their own world causes the impossibility of defining fixed action guidelines at early ages.

On the other hand, technology is very comprehensive and makes traditional studies, and mainly the manual ones, be increasingly further. The same applies to studies related to listening and personal interaction. For this generation, organizations and corporations will be increasingly more boring with their rules and policies, which were not present in social networks and at home when they were kids. Schools and parents are close to them emotionally, but, perhaps, we move away from the depth of the relationships as we are often less open to adapt ourselves to technological communication.

It is not bad or good. The question is how and when they will be able to find the process of vocational orientation which guides them in their future. And, mainly, how Ys will be able to guide them.

For the time being, there are many questions and only few answers. I want, in these few lines, to state the size of the challenge for the next years. And, I invite “Y” leaders to think about this new generation which is of their concern and which they will be the leaders of.

Once again, there is no point in being against the characteristics of a generation, because it is what they are. The question is how the other generations adapt to them in order to help their integration into the social and labor world in the best way possible.

If we believed that the disruption of Millennials was incomparable, I think we were wrong.





Translator’s profile:

Lucila Agustina Norry es Traductora Pública en idioma inglés egresada de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Se dedica a la capacitación en idioma inglés de negocios y con objetivos específicos, principalmente inglés técnico, económico y legal, tanto en instituciones públicas (BCRA, CNV, Aerolíneas Argentinas) como en empresas privadas de primera línea. Brinda servicios de traducción en los pares de idiomas inglés <>español de documentos Comerciales (Contratos, actas, minutas, informes, estados contables), documentos legales (demandas, sentencias, escritos judiciales), documentos Públicos (Certificados, Diplomas, C.V.), documentos técnicos (manuales, informes técnicos) y sitios web.


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