Leadership changes and management trends

Before we can manage and lead we must be able to understand and connect. Today’s ideal supervisor is one who values communication not just authority, who manages things, not people, one who leads by example and involvement and not just by command and control.

For workers today, the ideal leader gives public affirmation, pats on the back – both figurative and literal, remembers names/interests of their staff, and creates an emotionally safe, friendly, collegial environment where people feel free to contribute ideas.

Gen Y and Z are definitely keen to move into leadership, but they first need effective leadership role models who can engage with them. The ever-present generation gap is very visible when we attempt to lead them in our old method. Traditional leadership stresses controlling, they want relating. We focus on structure, they are influenced by style. We think framework, they think freedom. The answer is to take the time to better understand the younger generations and then we are well on the way to being able to engage, train, and lead them.

This table highlights the changes in leadership styles represented by these leaders across five generations:

Great leaders across the generations

BuildersBoomersX-ersY-ers
PoliticalWinston ChurchillJohn F. KennedyNelson MandelaBarack Obama
EconomicSam WaltonLee IacoccaBill GatesMark Zuckerberg
InfamousAdolf HitlerFidel CastroSaddam HusseinOsama Bin Laden
SocialMohandas GandhiMartin Luther King Jnr.Mother TeresaBono
CulturalWalt DisneyBob DylanOprah WinfreyCate Blanchett
ReligiousDietrich BonhoefferBilly GrahamDalai LamaBenedict XVI
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