The dynamics of the 2016 workforce prove fascinating. It is commonly accepted that four generations comprise the workforce of today (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y/millennials), and each generation has unique characteristics. While these characteristics generalize the similarities and differences among generations, the fact remains that managing in the 21st century is a daily challenge given the diversity of the workforce.
Accordingly, becoming a successful manager in today’s workplace requires a person to possess varied skillsets, such as critical thinking and problem solving; a high degree of emotional intelligence; technical and conceptual aptitude; and an insight into a concept that many current and future managers ignore: relevance.
To be relevant quite simply means to be closely connected or relating to a subject in an appropriate way.
In reviewing this definition, a critical element that should stand out is the ability to relate to others. After all, the root word of “relationship” is “relate.” Far too many managers do not take into account the need to relate to their employees. These managers tend to be more concerned with delivering a quarterly profit-and-loss (P&L) statement or making a month-end sales quota without considering that their success is incumbent upon the success of their respective team members.
With this type of manager, employees are a means to an end that leaves people feeling devalued, uninspired and, eventually, maliciously compliant to completing their job tasks because they need employment.
Managers who possess the self-awareness to relate well to others understand that, in order to stay relevant, they must meet employees where they are. Being an effective manager (or leader) has far less to do with you as a manager and has far more to do with the employee (or follower).
Managers today need to relate to the characteristics of all generations, races, genders and ethnicities, if for no other reason than that they value different things, behave differently and are at different stages in their lives. Managers must learn what each individual employee’s “payoff” is in order to train, develop and coach to it, in addition to treating each person as a human being and not someone who helps to deliver a quarterly bonus.
This is not to suggest that the financial performance of any organization is not important; rather, managers today must stay closely connect to their people and, in so doing, will influence and inspire them to be highly committed to perform and produce at a high level. Staying relevant serves as the “blocking and tackling” that allows employees to know that you, as a manager, have their best interests in mind first. It is a simple concept, but not easy in practice.
When done well, however, the sky is the limit!
Grand Canyon University offers a business degrees to help you become an effective leader in today’s dynamic business world. To learn more about our programs, visit the GCU website.
More About Dr. Slover:
Ed Slover, DM, is an associate professor of business (management and marketing) at Grand Canyon University. He holds a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership (DM) degree from the University of Phoenix. Dr. Perkins also holds Master of Arts in Organizational Management (MA) from the University of Phoenix, along with a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. He has 16 years of industry experience, most notably as the district manager for 11, 24 Hour Fitness locations in Phoenix. He held the area director position at My Fit Foods, and was the national account manager for Apex Fitness Group, a division of 24 Hour Fitness. Dr. Slover demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning and recently enrolled in the Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology program at Grand Canyon University.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.