This month’s roundup of HR News focuses on leadership and management, navigating the 6-generation workforce, and more news of note.

4 Reasons Why Managers Fail
Swagatam Basu, Atrijit Das, Vitorio Bretas, and Jonah Shepp – Harvard Business Review

The job of the manager has become unmanageable. Organizations are becoming flatter every year. The average manager’s number of direct reports has increased by 2.8 times over the last six years, according to Gartner research. In the past few years alone, many managers have had to make a series of pivots — from moving to remote work to overseeing hybrid teams to implementing return-to-office mandates.

Gartner research has found that managers today are accountable for 51% more responsibilities than they can effectively manage — and yet they remain the load-bearing pillars of an organization. They carry the weight of leader expectations at the top, while responding to employee expectations at the base.

Managers: You’re not a BFF or a therapist. This is how much you should know about your employees’ personal lives
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Fast Company

One of the unexpected disadvantages to the evolution of leadership, from more autocratic, tyrannic, despotic, and top-down during more nepotistic, plutocratic, violent times, to more democratic, empathetic, considerate, and inclusive in the best of times, is the common tendency to mistake leaders for our friends.

The essence of leadership has not changed in the slightest. It is still about one thing, and one thing only: namely to turn a group of people into a high-performing team, enabling them to temporarily set aside their individualistic agendas and egos, to collaborate effectively toward a valuable common goal. The rest is details.

Leading the 6-generation workforce
Nicholas Pearce – Harvard Business Review

For the first time in history, many workplaces span six generations: from the octogenarians of the Silent Generation who are still working — and in many cases still holding onto key global leadership roles — to the teenagers of the emerging Generation Alpha who are eagerly pursuing their first summer jobs and high school internships. In between are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (often called the Millennials), and Generation Z.

To be sure, this unprecedented age span could afford organizations unique opportunities to reimagine and reposition themselves for sustainable intergenerational inclusion and impact. At the same time, where executives are unwilling or unprepared to engage this new six-generation (6G) reality, organizational chaos and decline may ensue.

Report: ‘Opportunity Youth’ Could Be New Source of Job Candidates

Employers struggling to fill open positions often overlook a nontraditional source of employees: youth ages 16 to 24 who are disconnected from school and work.

This cohort—called “opportunity youth”—was made up of nearly 4.7 million people in 2021. Given that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded more than 8.7 million job openings in February 2024, opportunity youth represent a large store of untapped potential, according to a report that SHRM, the SHRM Foundation and the Center for Racial Equity released April 16.

Adam Grant on how to identify and develop high-potential leaders
Donna Wiggs, Big Think

The quest to build a robust pipeline of high-potential leadership talent is increasingly urgent as the challenges facing organizations gain in complexity and speed. However, the current leadership gap illustrates how difficult that quest can be.
One crucial question must be addressed at the outset: What differentiates high-potential leadership talent from high-performing professionals more generally? Both are essential to an organization’s success, but each brings unique capabilities.
Too often, high-potential leaders are identified by “I know it when I see it.” Not only does this approach open the door to bias and run the risk of overlooking hidden talent, but the lack of clarity limits the organization’s ability to develop a future-ready leadership cadre.

Navigating executive leadership: A guide for first-time leaders
Zándra Bishop, Smart Brief

Stepping into an executive leadership role for the first time can be as thrilling as it is daunting. The transition from a team member or mid-level manager to a C-suite executive involves not only a shift in responsibilities but also a fundamental change in perspective. First-time leaders might find themselves facing a unique set of challenges as they navigate through uncharted territories. This blog post will dissect the common thoughts, situations, pain points and mistakes new leaders encounter and offer actionable best practices to help them excel in their roles.

HR News Roundup: Quick Takes

From the Lighter Side  …

  • If you are a word lover, otherwise known as a logophile or a logomaniac, you might enjoy this list of 80 weird and rather obscure words that you can use in conversation to comflogisticate your colleagues.
  • And speaking or word-lovers, see this letter that Robert Pirosh sent asking for a job as a screenwriter … a letter which secured him three interviews, one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM.
  • And since we’re discussing words, it’s a good time to ask: Did you ever aspire to be a gandy dancer, a knocker-upper, a billy boy or a tosher when you grew up? Probably not but your grandpa might have. Here’s a list of 51 jobs that no longer exist.
  • Jazmine is a Human Resource Professional in Alabama and together with her recruiter friend Kristine, they are known as BakedHR on Instagram, where they offer memes that many in HR will relate to.

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