The Entrepreneurial Leadership of Generation Z (GZ’s) is the slow boring of hard boards.  Generation Z presents a leadership challenge to companies in a way that they have never experienced.  GZ’s are the ‘hard boards’ and it is up to us to lead well and better.

All too often I hear executives positioning Generation Z (GZ’s) and their older counterparts –Millennials – as the heart of the problem.  This is only partially accurate for Millennials and even less so for GZ’s.  These young people have seen failures of leadership in nearly every aspect of their young lives.   GZ’s have been poked, prodded, medicated, counseled and literally hunted – with over 50 school shootings in 2015 alone – more than any other generation in history.  And they are reacting by poking back verbally, professionally, technologically; literally using every means at their disposal to express their discontent and confusion.

For the moment instead of thinking of them as entitled, lazy, or uncommitted, consider observing them as fragile, pragmatic and with an earned loss of faith in leadership.  It is accurate that GZ’s have all been born inside this technological bubble and it impacts their world and ours.  And yes, they have access to information at a moment’s notice that other generations would have had to wait weeks or months to gather.  However, they have not developed a framework to interpret this information.  GZ ‘s are attempting to make sense out of a world that has stripped away their innocence while their minds, hearts and bodies are new and growing.

As entrepreneurs and leaders we have an obligation to provide them tools to interpret the massive amounts of information they are receiving.  We have an obligation to lead them and teach them. And while to some this may seem like an impossible task we must remember that time and time again history tells us that the only way to accomplish what is possible is to strive to attain the impossible.

It is possible to lead Generation Z but we must be transparent about the world we helped to create. One that developed in them attitudes and belief systems.  Yes, it is possible to create energetic winning teams comprised of GZ’s, Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.  It will require a purposeful understanding of the value each brings and the thoughtful development of strategies to take advantage of their talents.