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Leadership Challenge #8: Leading in a Multigenerational Workforce

At 23 years old, you were identified as a star performer and were “fast-tracked” into your first leadership role. You have three direct reports who are all strong performers. After six months in this new position, you get along well with two of your direct reports, who are close to you in age (mid to late ’20s). However, there has been noticeable tension between you and your third direct report, Jan, who is 45 years old. You realize that Jan is having difficulty adjusting to a much younger boss and you are also struggling to lead someone significantly older than yourself. What should you do? How do you overcome the age gap and lead Jan effectively?

*What you need to write: Potential Solutions and Obstacles (2 pages): Describe three potential solutions to your challenge. Identify each solution’s advantages and what obstacles might exist to implementing each. Support your recommendations with your research, citing where appropriate. Your ideas should all be things that can realistically be implemented. Where possible, show how real leaders/organizations have approached similar challenges. (double-spaced; one-inch margins; Times New Roman) You must properly cite your sources (use APA format) in the body of the report and include a References page at the end of your report (not included in the page length total). A good resource for this is

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

) You can find few examples from the guideline attached.

Research Summaries
Student Name: Keying Zheng (Ivy)
Team Name: Team 8 (Alpha)
SOURCE #1:
Full citation in APA format:
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Taylor, B. (2008, May 03). Memo to a Younger Leader: What Kind Boss
Are You? Retrieved from hbr.org
Category/topic:
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LEADERSHIP & MANAGING PEOPLE
Summary of key points (add space as needed; summarize in your own words – do
not copy and paste from the article):
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When you want to find great talented employees, all you have to do is show
them what you can get them to do. Not the lure of money, but what
achievements they can achieve by following you, such as developing
various products and challenging various problems. Good people want to
become influential players.
When it comes to evaluating talent, character counts for as much as
credentials. Do you know what makes your star performers tick-and how to
find more performers who share those attributes?
Personality is as important as qualifications in evaluating talent. You need
to get to know their strengths and characteristics, and better understand and
match their work.
As a leader you need to let everyone know how the business works. Because
no matter how specialized the employees are, it makes them do better when
they understand how the business works.
As a leader, you need to be as tough with yourself as you do with your
employees.
“Stars don’t work for idiots.” By Professor John Sullivan of San Francisco
State University
Evaluation of Usefulness for the Project:
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I think this article can be used when we analyze how to be a good leader. I
think the ideas mentioned in the article will be a good reference. First of all,
when we start to think about solutions, we also need to think about various
clues about what makes a good leader. We need to sort out a general model
of a good leader through these ideas, and then think according to this model.
How to solve this challenge of Leading in a Multigenerational Workforce.
SOURCE #2:
Full citation in APA format:
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Walker, R. (2015, August 07). How to approach the generation gap in the
workplace. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/09/jobs/howto-approach-the-generation-gap-in-the-workplace.html
Category/topic:
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JOB MARKET
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Summary of key points (add space as needed; summarize in your own
words – do not copy and paste from the article):
More older workers have found themselves being hired and managed by
people much younger than they are.
“A co-worker, no matter how young, may know more than you do about
some things, and information-sharing can be a useful two-way street.”
When dealing with a younger boss, what you really need to show is respect.
Help each other and make suggestions that you think are good. When the
advice isn’t taken, it doesn’t matter.
“Those on the ‘younger side’ acknowledge our decades of experience and
respect us for our competence. We on the ‘older side’ don’t preach or
pontificate and remain open to new ideas.”
In general, it expresses how people of different ages find a balance at work.
As a young man, don’t treat the old with prejudice. The elderly should not
think that young people are too small and despise them.
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Evaluation of Usefulness for the Project:
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I think the whole article is useful for our challenge. Because it helps us
brainstorm and see things from the other side. The challenge is about how a
young leader gets along with employees of different ages. One of the ideas
this article gives us is how to adapt to the young leaders as the senior group.
I think it helps us to find a win-win solution.
Research Summaries
Student Name: Jixiang Shi Team Name: Team 8 (Alpha)
SOURCE #1:
Full citation in APA format:
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Glickman, J. (2020, December 24). When you’re younger than the people
you manage. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/12/whenyoure-younger-than-the-people-you-manage
Category/topic:
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Young manager managing older employees
Summary of key points (add space as needed; summarize in your own words – do
not copy and paste from the article):
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In the blog, Jodi Glickman, the CEO of a leadership development firm,
suggests using four strategies for a young manager to deal with older
employees. She notes that earning trust, respect, and admiration is key for a
successful relationship.
The first strategy is checking insecurities; insecurities will make one not feel
confident and lead to mistakes. believing that one is suitable for the position
will eliminate insecurities
Set a common goal; let the employees in on your vision and goal for the
team. Let them tell you about what they think as they have experience,
engage them in dialogue; by doing so, you will promote closeness.
Being confident and not afraid to show weakness; talk with confidence as
this will give them the feeling that you are fit to be the boss. When in doubt,
relate with the employees and tell them what you think is not right, most
have experience in the company, and they may help you solve a problem.
Being understanding and unselfish; be a leader who is ready to share and
give support when needed. Understand you have employees with different
strengths, commend where necessary.
She ends the blog by saying that a leader should be willing and ready to
learn, one who shows great stretch and humility, and the ability to make
decisions.
Evaluation of Usefulness for the Project:
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This is useful for the project as it addresses some of the challenges that
young managers face and solutions. The project is about how a young
manager should handle older employees; the blog provides useful strategies
that may be of help.
SOURCE #2:
Full citation in APA format:
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Conboye, J. (2017, August 30). When the manager is a millennial. Financial
Times. https://www.ft.com/content/2bda8436-34c2-11e7-99bd13beb0903fa3
Category/topic:
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Being a young manager
Summary of key points (add space as needed; summarize in your own words – do not copy
and paste from the article):
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A young manager can be seen as a threat to the older employees, but this
should not be the case as Kerri Logan, a young manager, notes a young
manager should not be seen as a threat or challenge the older workers, but
rather they should seek counsel from the older workers as well as bring
energy and pace to the team. The manager should show that they are there to
help.
The manager should also consider the employees’ thoughts as most do not
put their work as their first priority. Older workers have more experience;
thus, they may provide more realistic targets and goals. They are an
essential part of the business. For them not to feel left out in skills
conducting workshops and training seminars may help them see that you are
there to help them.
The blog ends with tips that a young manager can use to manage the age
gap. The tips include building personal relationships with the employees,
using them as your mentor, standing your ground in a respectable manner,
engaging the older workers as partners as well as providing opportunities for
them to upgrade their skills.
Evaluation of Usefulness for the Project:
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The blog is useful for this project as it has testimonies from young managers
who talk about their experience with older workers. Getting this information
is crucial as one can tell what works and what does not when it comes to
managing older workers. One can consider using the tips and evaluate what
they are not doing right.
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MGT 360 Team Project – Leadership Challenge Project Detail
Objectives
• Enhance knowledge about leadership topics that build upon and extend class material.
• Develop research, oral communication, and written communication skills.
• Practice leadership by taking on a formal leadership role for one part of the project.
Teams will research and develop solutions to common challenges faced by leaders in today’s
organizations. The research you collect should include background material to understand the
challenge and best practices about your topic. Teams will also find and use examples of how real
leaders/organizations have faced similar challenges. Your team will find, read and analyze
relevant research, develop solutions to the challenge, and share your expertise in a written report
and class presentation.
This assignment is worth a total of 60 points: Team project plan (10 points), Written report (25
points), and Presentation (25 points). See syllabus for due dates.
Instructions
1. Choose a challenge topic. The challenge topics are in Appendix A at the end of this
document. You will rank order your topic preferences with your team during Zoom class.
I will try to assign everyone their first choice but cannot guarantee it.
2. Develop a project plan (10 points). Prepare as a team for the project: assign leadership
roles, identify key tasks, and develop a project schedule. Complete the Project Plan
template provided on Blackboard and upload to the assignment link by the due date – one
submission per team.
3. Conduct research on your challenge topic. Each team member is responsible for
finding at least one source from List A and at least one source from List B to help your
team analyze the challenge and develop solutions. Teams may also use organizations’
websites, the class textbook, and assigned class articles as sources, but these are
additional and do not substitute for finding sources from List A and B.
All of the sources below should be available to you at no cost either through the Sawyer
Library or just by doing a Google search.
Note: each team member will summarize their research as an individual assignment – see
Blackboard for details.
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List A:
Harvard Business Review
MIT Sloan Management Review
Business Horizons
Organizational Dynamics
Academy of Management Perspectives
Other business journals – approval
required from Professor
List B:
Fortune
Fast Company
Inc.
The Economist
Entrepreneur
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Financial Times
City-based newspapers (e.g.,
Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune)
Other news media – approval
required from Professor
4. Analyze your research and develop solutions for your challenge. Each team is
required to attend this in-class work day. This meeting will serve as your asynchronous
work for that day.
Your goal for the meeting is to 1) develop a collective understanding of your challenge
using your team’s research sources 2) if necessary, identify areas where more research
may be needed and 3) analyze the research for guidance toward final
solutions/recommendations.
5. Write a five-page (double-spaced; one-inch margins; Times New Roman) report of
your analysis and solutions (25 points). Please follow the guidelines below:
Quality standard: This is a case analysis that should be academically rigorous but
professional enough for you to feel comfortable using it in a job interview as an example
of your analytical and written capabilities.
Include a cover sheet (not included in page length total) with the title of your leadership
challenge topic, team name, date, and class section. Do not repeat this information in the
body of your report.
You must properly cite your sources (use APA format) in the body of the report and
include a References page at the end of your report (not included in the page length total).
A good resource for this is http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
Failure to properly cite sources will have a detrimental effect on your grade. Evidence of
plagiarism will result in zero for the paper and will be reported as academic misconduct
to the University.
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Recommended report structure:
Introduction (maximum 1/2 page): In an introductory paragraph, summarize the
leadership challenge. Place the challenge within the broader context of leadership in
organizations (e.g., why is this topic important). This section should answer the basic
question: “What are the fundamental issues here that make this scenario challenging for
you as a leader?”
Analysis of Challenge (2 pages): Use this section to more fully demonstrate your
understanding of the leadership challenge, for example, the key topics and issues
underlying this challenge, the importance of these topics and issues to effective
leadership, and the consequences of failing to address this challenge as a leader. Support
this analysis with the research you collected as a team, citing your sources where relevant
to demonstrate your use and understanding of them.
Potential Solutions and Obstacles (2 pages): Describe three potential solutions to your
challenge. Identify each solution’s advantages and what obstacles might exist to
implementing each. Support your recommendations with your research, citing where
appropriate. Your ideas should all be things that can realistically be implemented. Where
possible, show how real leaders/organizations have approached similar challenges.
Final Solution (1/2 page): Given the advantages and obstacles you identified above, close
your paper by developing an argument to support the one solution you think is the best of
the three alternatives you presented. We are now down to what you think should be done
to fix things. Support your choice with your research.
6. Deliver a 10-15-minute PowerPoint presentation. (25 points).
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All team members will present. You will record your team presentation on Zoom and
upload it to a Discussion forum on Blackboard so the class can view it.
Be mindful of your slide design – aim to tell your story with images and use text
sparingly.
Practice your timing as a team: Presentations that are very short or very long will result in
a significant penalty.
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APPENDIX A: Leadership Challenge Topics
Leadership Challenge #1: Motivating During Change
In the last year, your organization has laid off dozens of employees as part of a cost-cutting
initiative; more layoffs may occur in the next year. You lead a team of six employees, and
although they have all survived the first round of layoffs, you sense that they are uncertain about
their roles and the organization’s future. You know that it will be critical for the team to continue
to perform at a high level in the next year – for the sake of your department and your team’s job
security. How will you keep these employees motivated during this time of uncertainty?
Leadership Challenge #2: Leading a Virtual Team
You are a team leader whose members all work in different locations across the United States.
Due to distance and budget, you can only meet in person once per year. While the team already
uses a variety of high-quality technologies to communicate regularly, you sense that the team
lacks cohesion and there is a strong “every person for themselves” attitude. Since nearly all of
your work together is virtual, you know that with this kind of team structure, strong leadership is
essential. How do you lead virtual teams effectively? How do you build strong team
relationships from a distance?
Leadership Challenge #3: Displaying Authority as New Leader
Recently you were promoted from within your organization to lead the department that you are
part of. As a result, you are now managing direct reports who used to be your peers. When you
were all at the same level, you got along well and even consider a few of them to be personal
friends. However, you are unsure how to approach your new leadership role and your change in
status in the group. How can you best transition from peer to new boss? How can you gain
respect and authority in your new role while maintaining positive relationships with your former
peers?
Leadership Challenge #4: Getting a New Team Member on Board
You recently hired a new employee, Sarah, from a different area of your company. The transition
is difficult because Sarah will work part-time for you while she phases out of her other job. The
other members of your team have never met or worked with Sarah before. As a leader, why
should you be concerned about onboarding? What can you do to more effectively integrate a new
member into the team?
Leadership Challenge #5: Collaborative Leadership
You are a VP of product design and management for a large software company. As the person in
charge of production, you have no formal authority over the other department heads. However,
you are worried that a lack of collaboration among departments is costing the company business.
In particular, you feel that the Sales and Marketing department promises customers things that
your department cannot produce. How can you increase collaboration between departments so
that everyone is working toward the same goals? How do you lead when you lack formal
authority?
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Leadership Challenge #6: Making Efficient, Data-driven Decisions
You are a well-respected leader in the middle level of your organization. One of the things
people like about you is your detail orientation and use of data to make decisions. The challenge
you face is that you often do not make timely decisions due to your need to completely analyze
all the data available. Your boss has asked you to move faster on decisions and new initiatives.
How do you balance using data and evidence in decision-making effectively, but efficiently?
Leadership Challenge #7: Delivering Effective Performance Feedback
Your business unit is growing, and you need to build the leadership talent from within your
group. You have one high-performing employee with leadership potential – Dan – but his
interpersonal skills are a problem. He is often dismissive of others’ ideas and becomes overly
defensive in meetings and over email. How will you deliver constructive performance feedback
that motivates Dan to embrace working on his weaknesses, rather than de-motivating and
alienating him?
Leadership Challenge #8: Leading in a Multigenerational Workforce
At 23 years old, you were identified as a star performer and were “fast-tracked” into your first
leadership role. You have three direct reports who are all strong performers. After six months in
this new position, you get along well with two of your direct reports, who are close to you in age
(mid to late 20’s). However, there has been noticeable tension between you and your third direct
report, Jan, who is 45 years old. You realize that Jan is having difficulty adjusting to a much
younger boss and you are also struggling to lead someone significantly older than yourself. What
should you do? How do you overcome the age gap and lead Jan effectively?
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Leading Multigenerational Workforce
Student’s Name
Institution Affiliation
Course Name
Due Date
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Leading Multigenerational Workforce
Leadership is a skill that individuals have to master and create significant effort towards
accomplishing. Being a good leader requires establishing essential traits that would help manage
the tea and create a positive impression that would substantially help develop better interaction
and make a positive impact on the relationship started. Significantly, there are challenges that we
as leaders would face in our daily interaction with the team, and these are challenges that would
make us even more robust and determined to achieve the team objectives (Totterdill, 2015).
However, unlike other team components, multigenerational groups have a more significant
difference within their leadership. The composition is mainly one that would have a more
substantial influence on stereotyping and similarly biased behavior among the individuals.
Conflicts would continue being a part of the team, and equally low esteem among the young
leaders would affect their leadership abilities and hinder their continued performance.
Looking at the scenario, leading an older team member is one of the challenges that face
a leader, and this is the case of Jan, who finds it difficult to adjust to a younger leader and creates
more excellent resistance due to the age (Totterdill, 2015). Similarly, changing to leading an
older team member would, in a significant way, have a greater challenge for me as a leader. To
deal with the situation, it’s essential to establish the following approaches within the workforce
and create a positive working environment.
One of the most significant ways a leader would create a more outstanding team
performance is establishing an open communication approach that would help make a more
meaningful interaction between the different team members. On one hand, it is characterized by
various advantages that would, in a tangible way, influence the other exchanges and positively
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impact the team performance. It encourages freedom of expression and sharing of ideas. It helps
to interact better and create knowledge of the team members. Besides, open communication
supports team diversity and helps leaders have the freedom to lead and encourage team members
to perform continuously. On the other hand, open communication sometimes encounters
obstacles. For example, ineffective communication channels within the team or fear of age gap
interaction between team members.
A workforce that focuses on similar goals and encourages each team member to create a
significant effort to achieve the purposes would substantially create a progressive influence and
develop better support for continuous improvement and performance. Significantly, team
collaboration makes a more potent force due to t the individual combined effort to achieve a
milestone in understanding. The advantages to encouraging collaboration are free interaction and
improvements between team members. They can encourage and upholding each other towards
achieving the goal. It brings the team more excellent performance and would boost morale and
performance. There are also some shortcomings, such as differences in personal goals between
team members or team members seldom concentrate.
The approach is mainly established by understanding the different characteristics that
would define a generation in a significant way. Creating a differentiation of these individuals
within the team would encourage continued interaction and team collaboration. The approach
would help toiler better methods and techniques to meet each individual’s needs and boost
continued performance in their responsibilities. Remaining the advantages of flexibility helps to
reduce the interaction between team members and their leaders, freedom of expression and the
ability to adapt to others. It also helps to achieve common goals in diverse teams. The obstacles
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to this approach are the lack of trust and respect among team members, or the limited interaction
of the team.
The team age gap among team players within an organization would either build or destroy
the relationship created among these individuals. The age gap spells significant challenges to the
leader and would require establishing the above approaches to impact and generate continuous
improvement in the team performance positively. Change is us and would mean creating a
positive impact on the team to realize a significant impact.
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References
Totterdill, P. (2015). Closing the Gap: The Fifth Element and Workplace Innovation. European
Journal Of Workplace Innovation, 1(1). doi: 10.46364/ejwi.v1i1.166

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