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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCFP211: Intergenerational Leadership with Tim Elmore

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast! With up to five generations in the workplace simultaneously, leaders must know how to connect with all generations and help them work together. But how do you lead a generation you may not understand? In today’s episode, we’re joined by Tim Elmore, a leader who focuses on helping leaders connect with Gen Z.


What prompted the book? What is generational diversity?

Many people are familiar with the term “generation gap,” coined when the Baby Boomer Generation entered the workforce. Now, the Baby Boomers are the oldest in the workplace. Companies will miss out if they avoid hiring the younger generation. Get past the stereotype. The goal is not to stereotype but to understand. When you focus on understanding, you can find a competitive advantage in every generation instead of just tolerating each other at work.


Q: What generations are in your workplace? Are any generations missing? Why do you think that is the case? Do the generations work well together in your business? Why or why not?


What can we expect from the younger generations?

Generation Alpha: 2016-present

These kids have only known smartphones and have had their education and social and emotional development set back because of the pandemic.

Generation Z: 2001-2015

Over-exposed to information far earlier than they were ready, but they have yet to be exposed to life experiences. They often have a false sense of maturity. They may look cocky because they know a lot, but they also have more anxiety and mental health issues than the generations before. While on the one hand, they may look very independent, they need their leaders just as much as generations before them.


Q: What stereotypes do you have about Generation Z? Where did they come from? Have you ever met someone who challenged those stereotypes? How?


Have A LEG to stand on.

Ask Questions - Are you okay? What’s going on in your mind right now? Questions send the signal that you care.

Listen - When you listen, people feel heard.

Empathize - Make sure they feel understood.

Guide - When you’ve done the other three things, you have the right to lead them because you connected before you corrected.


Q: How do you connect with people from other generations? Do you find it more challenging to work with people older than you or younger than you? Why?


What do you recommend businesses do to foster relationships with different generations and extract the most from them?

  1. I treat my employees as volunteers and lead through relationships, not demands. People will mirror back what you lead with.

  2. We practice reverse mentoring, where you pair a tenured team member with a rookie. We ask them to swap stories and share experiences that allow them to help each other.


Three things every generation wants from the other:

  1. Humility

  2. Respect

  3. Curiosity


What was your biggest risk?

I worked for John Maxwell for 20 years. I left that job to start my own company called Growing Leaders. Today, we are thriving and have had the opportunity to do what John Maxwell does for the next generation of leaders.


What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Lead yourself first before you try to lead anyone else. I was thrown onto the stage because of my gift, but I don’t know that my character was ready for it. So I took a break and focused on ensuring that my gift and character were the same sizes.


If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?

You will influence others based on your sense of identity yourself.


Application Activities:

  1. Take the Generational Quotient Assessment. This resource will help you evaluate how well you understand members of each generation and give you recommendations that will help you lead members of each generation.

  2. Make Tim Elmore’s practice of reverse mentoring a part of your leadership strategy. You can start by assigning a monthly partnership between inter-generational members of your team or by hosting a lunch for your team members to share their experiences in pairs. Another option is to use this strategy to integrate new hires and assign each new team member a mentor from a different generation. Give your team a discussion guide and show them how to get the most out of these relationships.

  3. How well do you/your business show your team members humility, respect, and curiosity? What would help you develop your team in these areas? Consider these questions and ask some of your employees them as well. The more you can show these qualities intergenerationally, the more you will help foster a culture of collaboration and growth in your company or team.


Connect with Tim

Generational Quotient Assessment: https://www.johnmaxwellacademy.com/assessment

Order Tim’s Book: A New Kind of Diversity





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