A Reflection On Management in Retail

COVID-19 has been a challenge for everyone. Kids home from school, numerous lockdowns, not being able to see their loved ones, this list could go on forever!

Before COVID, I had always seen myself as a laid-back and calm individual with lots of patience. But, boy, was I wrong!

I started noticing in March that things that did not bother me before were beginning to bother me. My team of 16 individuals, all of the different ages, typically comes with its challenges. So, something was going on, and it was just easy to blame COVID.

So, after a month of struggling with feeling frustrated, I wanted to look at what was going on because an employee that usually asks questions never bothered me before, and now it was.

I thought about my team and teams that I have managed in the past. I realize that as I have aged, I have a lack of understanding of the different generations.  I decided to do some research.

I realized that I am working with four different generations! Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z! I started looking into the different generations and the essential things that make them who they are.  I picked up an audiobook (something different for me) called Generations at Work. I have come to understand that people are defined in particular to the era that they grew up.

I will continue to read articles, listen to podcasts, and conduct research on the generational gap in the workforce because I feel it will help me better understand how to lead and develop people in the best ways for each individual!

It has worked out so well for me currently, as the frustration that I was feeling is completely gone. I am using the findings from my reading on what each individual deems necessary to them based on the generation that they are from, for example, flexible working arrangements/hours, promotions/bonuses, the importance of computer proficiency, and my leadership style.

I suggest managers in the retail space who are looking for inspiration on tackling multiple generations to check out the audio book, Generations At Work. Also considering how many articles have shed light on this issue, I recommend checking out multiple perspectives on the topic to better help leaders understand how to push the next generation to be successful in the field.

Otis Figueira

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