Hats Off to Generation “Z”​ – Our Great DIVERSE Hope

©Steve Whiteford 2022

I had a fantastic time presenting the Skills of Applied Emotional Intelligence to Jeff Quade’s St. Edwards business class yesterday. Of course, I attribute some of this to Jeff’s brilliant and accessible style as a professor and seasoned Organizational Development professional. As a Boomer, I certainly don’t remember being as bright, kind, attentive, and engaged as this group was.

I had prepared myself with a good and inspiring read before the event, The Z Factor, by Robin Shahi. These young women and men possess the natural want and drive for a humane work environment and an open, inclusive, and innovative society. Don’t put them down. We need to harness their creativity and diligence and their frustrations with the injustices of the society and work environments through which older generations have struggled. Boomers rebelled against the chainlike conservatism of our elders only to allow and play out a “victim becomes the oppressor” scenario. But we did demonstrate enough desire for societal evolution and progress to nurture and sow ideas that now, in the midst of chaos, have a fertile ground in which to take firm root.

Let’s do our best to nurture this group. We’ve done something right. They have the capability to be champions of all the great thought and revolutionary practices we read and hawk daily on LinkedIn. Let’s lessen the binds of hierarchy. They’re open and ready. We can foster our future by treating them with respect and including them now, wherever we find them, in the possibility we’re facing. Let’s give them their seat at the table and embrace their leadership.

Kudos to Simone Biles for impacting societal attitudes about achievement, mental health, and well-being. David Hogg responded to great tragedy and made his “Why” about campaigning for gun control. Amanda Gorman gave us an inspiring vision that combined the wisdom of many generations, including our emerging leaders’ fresh perspective. Of course, thousands more are willing to learn and lead like the students I thank for applauding and wanting more. They want what we’re clamoring for and are the ones who will carry it forward. Let’s give them all we can. 

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