Cross-Generational IT Leadership

I recently gave a presentation to the Info Comms Technology (ICT) Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore on IT Leadership. Prior to the meeting, my topic summary was sent to the ICT Committee members on my presentation, titled Leading IT into the Future.

With the next generation of workers beginning to trickle into the workplace, an evolution of the workforce has begun. In a society deeply permeated by technology, ICT leaders must become especially flexible and adept at managing the incoming generation of technology workers. This group of workers has different expectations of work and hold different definitions of concepts such as success.

A gradual transition from old to new work styles will need to be actively planned for to drive superior business results. Technology leadership will need to make a conscious effort to redefine itself, adapting and transitioning to blended management styles. Open to new ideas and approaches, managers who are able to embrace and leverage this workforce evolution will lead ICT organizations that contribute significantly more to all aspects of their business.

There was a great turnout of industry executives and my twenty minute presentation became a good balance of presentation, questions and discussion.

Interesting perspectives and observations were brought up about Baby Boomers and Generations X/Y/Z. Some generalizations are necessary, as generations are not specifically defined by years that anyone agrees on. Being part of a generation is more about what you were exposed to when you grew up and the group that you feel you have the most in common with.

Generational preferences of work style vary with the Baby Boomers and Generation X being grouped together, and Generations Y and Z being grouped together. More generalizations. BB/X tend to be role oriented, while Y/Z tend to be goal oriented. BB/X seek a happy work-life balance, while Y/Z seek a happy work-life integration. Y/Z are “first digitals” and “digital natives” respectively, and have never used a card catalog in a library. All of these workforce generations hold different values and will need to be managed differently, especially in the context of the IT industry.