A New Normal Multigenerational Leadership Model for Leaders in the COVID Era

A New Normal Multigenerational Leadership Model for Leaders in the COVID Era

Grace Christian Journey (Thomas Edison State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8827-7.ch005
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During the COVID era, diverse industries require persons willing to go towards another level of transformational leadership. This author proposes multigenerational leadership as a valuable addition. Five generations in the modern workforce described as the Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby-Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Generation Y also known as Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (1997-2012) are creating history! Each generation demonstrates unique perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors. The purpose of this chapter is to encourage the addition of multigenerational leadership to established leadership approaches that will require commitment to intentional learning about representatives of each generation, multigenerational challenges, change management styles, multiple intelligences, and effective soft skills. This chapter would emerge as an initial guide during the COVID-19 pandemic and envisions transformation during the post-pandemic era.
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For “New Normal Leaders” in a “New Normal Workforce,” the Covid-Era continues to create “New Normal Challenges.” Historical observations in contemporary work environments include representations of five generations described as The Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby-Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Generation Y, known as Millennials (1981-1996) and the most recent group is entering the workforce in the form of Generation Z (1997-2012) (Dimock, 2019; Stutzer, 2019). Essential learning points in this chapter reveal unique characteristics of multiple generations in the modern workforce that should be considered part of the evolution of the diversity and inclusion model. Current research suggests generational differences associated with perceptions of COVID-19 risks and social distancing behaviors among Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation; GenX; Millennials and GenZ (Masters, Shih, Akel, Kobayashi, Miller, Harapan, Lu & Wagner (2020). Leaders in diverse industries would benefit from understanding how a multigenerational workforce can inspire new strategies. Multigenerational management styles, teams, and mentorship programs will be part of a new model to address Covid-19 challenges and opportunities to evolve towards re-imagining a more diverse and inclusive multigenerational workforce.

Considering diverse, multigenerational perspectives would lead to developing “A New Normal Multigenerational Model as a practical leadership guide during the Covid-19 pandemic and visions of transformation during a post-pandemic era. Strategies associated with this model would offer valuable and meaningful guidance towards understanding how to motivate and encourage multiple generations to be more mindful of negative stereotypes and engage in intentional awareness and meaningful learning experiences. Stutzer (2019) suggests strategies for confronting negative generational stereotypes include deliberate efforts by individuals to recognize unique characteristics that would be valuable contributions in work environments currently experiencing transformations because of the Covid pandemic. Mutually beneficial forms of communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, critical thinking, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership could be soft skills explicitly designed for multiple generations in the workplace.

Additional recommendations from a qualitative study focusing on leading a multigenerational organization (Miranda & Allen, 2017) encourage leaders and managers to establish a firm foundation of knowledge that involves intentional learning about multiple generations as a significant first step in the new normal model. Promoting productive and meaningful work in multigenerational work environments would be included in the toolbox of leadership strategies. An important recommendation from the focus groups in this qualitative study suggests a combination of multiple intelligence and soft skills are necessary for leaders of a multigenerational workforce (Miranda & Allen, 2017).

Therefore, demonstrating more than one type of intelligence and exhibiting soft skills is an effective management strategy for a multigenerational workforce in the Covid-Era.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a practical and valuable guide for “new normal leaders” challenged by a “new normal workforce” and ensuring diversity and inclusion for multiple generations in the Covid Era. Multiple perspectives associated with various generations would become part of a new model that includes non-traditional communication, motivation, and soft skills among workers required to develop new skill sets and demonstrate continuous innovation. These are the areas where leaders would benefit from the perspectives of multiple generations and intentional learning about different types. Participants in a research study about leading multiple generations in the workforce also encouraged consideration of multiple intelligences, including intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual (Miranda & Allen 2017). However, this multigenerational approach towards the Covid-Era workplace is new. Recommendations from this author encourage additional research study to discover perceptions of leadership and the most effective types of leadership styles in organizations that represent multiple generations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multigeneration Model: The application of intentional learning, multiple intelligences, change management styles, and mentorship programs to different generations.

Multiple Intelligences: Recognition of different types of intelligence such as social intelligence, emotional intelligence, ethical intelligence, spiritual intelligence, collaboration intelligence, and artificial intelligence.

Collaboration Intelligence: The combination of human efforts and artificial intelligence to accomplish goals and objectives.

Multigeneration Challenges: Challenges experienced by different generations include communication, miscommunication, stereotypes, work-life balance, work ethic, and sense of entitlement.

Change Management: Use specific goals, strategies, and models to manage various changes effectively.

Critical Experiences: Work-related experiences specifically designed to build new skill sets.

Intentional Learning: An active plan to intentionally seek diverse experiences to build knowledge, abilities, and skills.

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