Stuff every Parent & Employer of Generation Z needs to know
The most successful parents, employers and individuals who work with or lead young people today have one thing in common. They study the rapidly changing culture and adjust their leadership accordingly. So to have success influencing teens and young adults in 2017, you should start with these 3 truths.
#1 Gen Z distrusts authority even more than previous generations
Scrolling through their social media feeds 6-8 hours a day at what do they find? Police beatings, Church Scandals, Political Corruption, Teachers sleeping with students, Parents getting yet another divorce....anything that presents itself as a form of authority in our culture has let them down.
So how do parents and employers adjust our leadership as a result?
We lead by recognizing our positional authority means nothing to them, we must build relational equity by modeling consistent behavior. "Do as I say not as I do" has not been an effective approach for decades and is even worse today. Gen Z is deaf to what comes out of your mouth and highly tuned in to what you actually do and a consistent basis. Yes, actions speak louder than words but in this case, your actions are the only thing that have a chance at earning their respect.
# 2 Gen Z is our first digitally native generation EVER
They grew up being babysat by tablets and smart phones! This is where their attention is and this is where it is staying. You have a better shot of connecting with them through an app than you do if they were sitting at desk right next to you all day.
So what does this mean?
That as a parent or employer you need to find out what social platforms or games have their attention and enter their world by connecting through those same platforms. I know you have no desire to be on Snapchat but if you want to be a factor in their world, you need to learn it. Young people are early adopters of technology and older generations are late adopters or laggards. You need to close that gap and show them that you can communicate in the same language they are speaking.
Remember, this cycle has gone on for generations. The young don't conform to the old, they set the standards for whats to come. If your mindset is that they must learn to interact with adults, you're going to lose the opportunity to influence them in any significant way.
#3 Gen Z is starving for Mentorship
We live in a dual income society which means parents are just not as accessible as they used to be. Our schools are over populated, our churches have lost much of their influence and traditional mentor programs are of little to no impact once a child reaches middle school. A young person today would rarely admit how great of a need this is for them primarily because being on their own is all they have ever known or felt.
How can this be addressed?
It's easier than you think. It ties back in to consistency. Parents and Employers need to establish regular check points in at least 2 of these 3 main categories: Personal Growth, Professional Growth and Spiritual Growth. Help those you lead become self aware of who they are and invite them to think beyond where they are and into where they want to go. We discovered an easy way you can do this with our Catalyst Purpose Project. Once you have a map of how each young person is uniquely wired, you can help them set goals on how they can discover and develop some of their passions. The process of doing this on a regular basis is called Mentoring.
If you win Gen Z's heart because your actions show you care, you will win their loyalty and trust.
Find some of this helpful? There's more! If you are local to Austin, we invite you to a Free Presentation on June 8th entitled "What are they thinking?!". We will take you into more detail on these issues for Generation Z and Millennials and help you establish your own plan of action to be a greater influence as a parent or employer. All guests in attendance will receive a Free Access to our Catalyst Purpose Project PLUS a 1 hour Free Coaching Session for you, your teen or your business!