Working with the Know-It-All Gen Z: The Art of Guiding without Dictating

Working with the younger generation, individuals in their 20s or early 30s who often carry the confidence of knowing it all, can be both exhilarating and challenging. They bring fresh perspectives, boundless energy, and tech-savvy expertise, but also an audacious belief in their own abilities that can sometimes make it difficult for them to accept guidance. As a seasoned professional myself, I can confidently offer some insights on managing and mentoring this talented, but at times, headstrong lot.

First off, I choose to see their high confidence levels as an asset, a catalyst propelling them towards uncharted territories with fearlessness. They are bold innovators, ready to question, debate, and argue. And as much as it seems they are resisting your inputs, they are ultimately seeking logic. They have a keen appetite for reasoning, and when offered, it is generally well received and duly respected.

Working with a know-it-all.

Granting Freedom with Defined Goals

Chaos breeds in ambiguity. The young generation craves freedom — freedom to explore, experiment, and even falter. However, if parameters are not well-defined, it could lead to confusion and derailment. So set clear goals but also provide a large canvas for these young minds to paint their own interpretations. The freedom within a framework kind of approach works best here.

The Role of Respect

It’s a golden relationship rule that applies superbly here as well – respect begets respect. Value their space, their personality, and their uniqueness. Foster a nourishing environment where their voices can be heard without the fear of judgement.

The Power of Constructive Feedback

For the ones who think they know it all, feedback, when given artfully, can be a game-changer. Feedback should be structured, meaningful, and respectful, even when it is negative or critical. There’s no better way to build trust and convey that you indeed have their backs.

Share, to Inspire

Guide them through your journey. Share stories of your triumphs and failures with full candor, narrating how a particular misstep you took years ago led to learnings that you carried forward. Anecdotes from your life can offer valuable learning experiences and inculcate a more open mindset.

Teach the Balancing Act

The ability to see both the big picture and the minute details is a competence that is often hard won. Instruct them to observe, to understand how a small font spacing change in a document can dramatically alter its impact, and how an overarching strategy can guide a project’s direction.

Authenticity and Transparency

To ensure their growth and success, teach them about corporate values. They should witness the authenticity you bring to your work, the focus on shared success, the outside-in perspective, the power of fine-tuned storytelling, and the pervasive practicality of corporate life.

The New Prophesy

Interestingly, they’ve begun to say that I can foresee the future. I take it as a compliment. It reinforces the importance of experience and wisdom. Young or old, we are all constantly learning, earthed on the past but looking towards the future.

A creative journey

Engaging with the younger generation at the workplace can initially be a roller coaster ride, but by focusing on mentorship and creating a space for open conversations, you can easily turn this ride into a journey of shared growth and success. Provide them with insight, not just directions, and the ‘know-it-all’ will transform into the ‘eager-to-learn’.

By Rajesh Soundararajan

#Author #CEO #Dad #Engineer #Entrepreneur #Farmer #Humanoid #IQ156 #Marketeer #MensaClub #MBA #RoadTripper #Photographer #Tech #Volunteer

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