Gen Zs vs. Boomers

Gen Z! I’m celebrating Gen Zs! The American City Business Journals‘ Associate Editor Marq Burnett explores this new generation in the workforce. In the interview, Marq discusses the context around Gen Zs with Amy Leschke-Kahle, VP of Performance Acceleration at The Marcus Buckingham Company.

Here’s my favorite Ah-ha: “The older you go in generations, we kind of waited for somebody to tap us on the shoulder. We thought that somebody was paying enough attention to us, and the reality is that the younger that folks are in the workforce, the louder they tend to be. They tend to be more certain of themselves. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. That can create a very friction-filled environment when somebody says, ‘Hey, why aren’t you talking to me? What about me?’ ”

The hard part is – as a Baby Boomer – I did think this was the case. We thought people were watching out for us, that someone was paying attention to us, that someone wanted to know what we thought. That made us very uncertain of ourselves when the attention didn’t come. It didn’t matter what kind of a degree we may have had or how smart we were, if we weren’t loud enough and directing enough attention to ourselves, we were discounted.

Compare that with Gen Zs, who, even if they are introverts or ambiverts, can advocate for themselves – that’s a huge shift in confidence. The reason I know this first-hand is that I have a Gen Z grandson who is our “2.5-child.” I’ve watched him grow up and I’ve seen the confidence shift in him. He is definitely an ambivert like me, but his knowledge of himself and his confidence in himself leaves me in the dust – his mindset is global by default and has never been local. This generation believes in collaboration and co-created solutions, where the “expansion of the pie” is the norm vs. our older mindset in zero-sum games. As a BBer, it is exhilarating to watch this freeing mindset and evolution take shape!

I love that this next generation coming up owns themselves, advocates for themselves, and has the apparent strength to stand up for what can change the tide of humanity. And I’m super excited to partner with them to change our world!

Gen Z, is there anything we can do to help you?