WHEN: Tuesday 2rd June, 12-1pm
WHERE: Keats Reading Room, Aviation Building, Callaghan (Video link to Ourimbah Meeting room, Science Offices)
WHAT: Research presentation by Dr Dennis Rose (School of Psychology, the University of Newcastle) entitled “Reconsidering leadership in an aging workforce"
ABSTRACT:The current economic situation encourages people to stay in the workforce longer than they may have in times past. This, and flatter work structures, can lead to considerable frustration and disengagement of younger employees, who may feel blocked in career progression and excluded from development opportunities and decision-making participation. Traditional forms of leadership may have elements of inclusiveness but tend to focus on the leaders, their characteristics and behaviours. Younger people have recent exposure to contemporary knowledge and also higher levels of fluid intelligence. Older employees may have continued to develop their crystallised intelligence through experience and long learning and are likely to have a broader overview of context, as well as filling the higher positions in an organisation.
How may current forms of leadership and management be adapted to engage all employees, across the entire age spectrum? Commentaries on the difficulties of managing Gen Y employees abound in the HR and management literatures. Yet, this cohort has been shaped by conditions created by previous generations. Perhaps the solution lies in exploring traditional leadership forms in new ways.
Distributed leadership has appeared in the education literature over the past decade and is beginning to attract the attention of management theorists. Distributed leadership is used as a ‘lens’ for understanding how current leadership theory may be extended to share leadership. The recently published paper on the topic by Dennis Rose argues that all employees need to be engaged and contributing with behaviours and ideas to business competitiveness and sustainability. As people age there is likely to be a gradual fall in fluid intelligence – the ability to solve problems in conditions of incomplete information – and in working memory. This may become problematic in advanced age and under conditions of continuous change, such as new technology. On the other hand, decision making unaccompanied by knowledge, maturity, strategic perspectives and insight may be problematic. Thus, the distributed leader recognises that they do not have all the answers and there is considerable opportunity to draw on the creativity of younger employees and provide opportunities for contribution to decision making and engagement. The distributed leader will thus provide a safe environment for younger employees to contribute towards innovation and decisions and create opportunities for growth. This may involve removing barriers to participation, encouraging networks, developing leadership, coaching and mentoring and so-forth.
If you want to know more about Dennis Rose’s article, visit: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JMD-07-2013-0094?journalCode=jmd