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How to Manage the Ambition of Gen Z

Gen Z have joined the workforce in the last few years and they’ve brought a new set of experiences, behaviours, and expectations with them. They can be competitive. We also know they expect rapid progress, development and change given their whole life exposure to accessible information and technology. As a leader, do you feel confident in managing their behaviours and, in particular, any ambitions that simply aren’t realistic?

How to be a good leader for Gen Z employees

You don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm or ruin their ambition as these can be advantageous for your organisation. It can be difficult to achieve the right balance with ambition. Too much can lead to disappointment for the employee and, in some cases, damage relationships. Too little can be seen as a lack of motivation that can lead to boredom.

Challenging. So, how do you best manage situations like this? Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do but here are just a few to get you started.

Understanding the Gen Z ambition

First of all, you need to look at whether they are succeeding in their role. If they are, they might be looking for a bigger challenge and their ambition is driven by wanting to find this. Therefore, remaining in the same role for a long period of time or one that isn’t stretching their ability, may be contributing to their overly ambitious beliefs. If they aren’t succeeding in their role, you need to have regular conversations and support them to focus on the here and now. This will help them to understand where they need to perform better and what they need to achieve before they are considered to be ready for a promotion.

Gen Z employees like new experiences and like to try out new opportunities to help them develop and grow. Therefore, look broader than just the role or area that they are currently in. This presents a great opportunity for both them and your organisation. When they are outside of their comfort zone, it’s a great learning opportunity that provides some insight about how much (more) there is to learn.

Acting as a good role model for ambition

Ambition isn’t just about tasks, the projects you’ve completed or the size of your team. It’s also about the behaviours and attitude you display. Clearly set out, and show, the behaviours you expect. For example, being a solid team player, having a growth mindset or effective communication etc. There is no point in your team member achieving something but stomping all over anyone who gets in their way or who doesn’t agree with them.

Mentors can be useful in these situations as they provide a different perspective and valuable insight. Now, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to one another as it’s unhelpful, I agree with that. Learning from others is different to comparison as it plays a positive role in sharing experience and insight that helps build an understanding of what is realistic to achieve.

One thing that we know for certain is that Gen Z employees won’t stick around if they aren’t getting what they need from their role or organisation. So, doing nothing isn’t an option if you want to retain them.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to start these conversations, please arrange a call in which you can find out how we can help you. If calls aren’t your thing, feel free to drop us an email instead.

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