Inspiring today’s working parents to become tomorrow’s leaders

At this week’s CIPD Learning & Development Show, Adam Kingl from the London Business School delivered an inspiring presentation on developing future leaders….which got me thinking:

Are leaders today truly capable of managing Generation Y employees?

Adam gave us a reminder of the top 3 things that Gen Y employees (those born between 1982 and 2004) value the most from their working lives:

  1. Healthy work/life balance – this is not just around questioning the number of hours worked – it’s also about the place of work – home-working continues in its popularity
  2. Organisation culture – feeling like what you do really adds value. Generation Y’s career span is long – think closer to 60 years of working in contrast to a Baby Boomer’s 40-odd.  That’s enough time for 2 completely different careers!  It also gives more time to find out what you really love doing, so feeling the connection to your work is much more important
  3. Development opportunities – it’s not just about formal, once-a-year, tick-the-box, stiff and awkward performance appraisals – Gen Y’s need continuous and more informal feedback

Are our leaders and line managers and our organisation’s structures nurturing these top 3 needs?

What about the needs of Generation Y working parents?

If the average age of child-birth in the UK for mothers is 30 (and 33 for fathers), the majority of new parents will be Gen Y’s.

What struck me was that working parents of any generation have always had these same needs:

  1. Healthy work/life balance – for most working parents, some degree of flexibility is essential – whether that be official part-time or informal flexibility around time or place of work – without it, the stress of working and parenting can become too much
  2. Organisation culture – meaningful work becomes much more important as employees become parents. If they are going to work long days/weeks away from their children and families, they need much more value from their work than just the finances
  3. Development opportunities– it’s not necessarily always about promotion and climbing the ladder – especially as the stress (and lack of the above) of senior management to many is not appealing – it’s more around the need to constantly develop and learn and progress

So, managing parents in the workplace is no different than managing Generation Y.  In which case, we can return to the earlier question:

Are our leaders and line managers and our organisation’s structures nurturing these top 3 needs?

At Parent & Professional Coaching, we know how important it is to develop leadership capability.  We run workshops to develop managers to lead their teams to better work/life balance and increased flexibility.  Contact us for more details (

Our other blogs on this topic:

Increasing flexibility – do you and your organisation have the skills to cope?

Dads at work: the problem when a Gen X leader manages a Gen Y dad

Adam Kingl on YouTube:

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