Women are smashing the workplace glass ceiling

Differences across the generations are defining leadership styles in the work place. Picture: Creative commons
Differences across the generations are defining leadership styles in the work place. Picture: Creative commons
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ONE workplace, three generations, and a world of difference between them. As most organisations know, that’s the state of play in our workforce today.

But new research shows how differences across the generations are defining leadership styles and, more importantly, shaping the leaders of the future.

The Great Generational Shift – a report from our R&D team that analysed 28,000 psychometric tests – documents the shifting dynamics in Britain’s multi-generation workplaces, where 60-year-old baby boomers work alongside Generation X-ers in their forties and the twentysomethings of Generation Y.

It paints a striking picture of the Generation Y professional, with women in this group (those aged 20 – 34) really coming to the fore.

Gen Y women top the charts when it comes to being socially confident, helpful, organised and meticulous, compared to their male counterparts.

Far removed from “traditional” leadership skills (persuasion, confidence, extroversion), they bring a completely different, and more relevant, set of skills to the business environment of today – and tomorrow. Skills that will help them navigate a data-driven future, where leaders will be required to sift through mounds of information and translate it into meaningful insights.

Compared to baby boomer males who currently dominate leadership positions in the workplace, Generation Y women score higher in many areas, including ambition and social confidence. With their chart-leading altruism and optimism, and their progressive people skills, these women will lead by laying out a vision and welcoming those who want to take part.

These research findings demonstrate a change in the nature of leadership, with younger females ideally positioned to excel in 
the leadership race of tomorrow.

Eighty per cent of executive directors on the boards of the FTSE 100 may currently be male, but the findings of this research show that, as business practice continues to evolve and progress, Generation Y women are better placed than ever before to position themselves at the top of businesses over the next decade.

• Tim Drake is head of talent management at Hudson UK

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