Keith R Szewczyk

Generation X Leaders Managing Trust

In Generation X Leadership on February 24, 2011 at 7:03 am

by; Keith R. Szewczyk

The most important value of any leader is their integrity, where the credibility of an executive leader is measured by their trust level with the employees. In today’s current environment of the diverse workforce that spans across multiple generations, the Generation X executive leader must generate the trust of the organization.

To gain trust amongst each generation you will have to understand their values and what they respect. As a generation X leader you need to have an objective and non-biasing approach to managing all situations. For example Baby Boomers will look at the Generation X Leader as lazy and undedicated to the company. The Baby Boomers will work late hours and dedicate their career to the company, where generation Xers and Yers will go home if their work is complete and look for new opportunities if they are not growing. These are general traits of each generation, which are critical to understand.

Trust does not happen overnight, it takes time and a lot of work. The first place to start is to trust your employees and let them know you trust them. Calling an all hands meeting and announcing that you are their leader and that you trust every one of them will not work. Being genuine and transparent to your organization is the leadership style that provides the environment to grow trust. Giving it time and working hard at gaining the organizations trust is what it takes…there are no light switches that you can simple turn on the trust!

Be consistent in your message and daily interaction. If you are all over the place and not walking the talk then you will put into question the ability for the people to trust you as a leader. Be calm and create an attraction and approachable relationship with your organization. Watch your appearance and actions towards stressful situations with your people. Remember, your people are dealing with a lot of issues first-hand and managing a lot of risks. You must understand that when they meet with leaders they are looking for support and help to get through their challenges.

Credibility starts with defining your commitment and deliver on it. Lead by example and allows follow through. For a Generation X leader a simple step towards building trust is by delivering on your commitments. You will be watched closely when you make a commitment, and the expectations will be that you will not hold the commitment. Baby Boomers will not expect Generation X leader to follow through as their impression is that we are lazy. You must not allow this to become reality.

Being a Generation X leader is a challenge and trust is a very critical success factor. Please share your examples or suggestions on managing the trust through the generation gaps.

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