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Systematic Approach is the Solution

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    Around the late 20th century, the humans started gaining ground as the prime capital in the industry, and since then there has been relentless search for its development, as the dynamism of globalization commands proper induction of a multi-generational, yet cohesive workforce from the companies under its sky. Thus the companies now need to work out on the right mix of wisdom and physical stamina of their workforces to maintain their competitive advantage. This is not an easy task and it commands a systematic approach with the aid of a well-knit strategy. Therefore, this essay explores the issue of achieving such a multigenerational workforce by reviewing possible steps and formulating an imaginary training program,  before reaching its own conclusion.

    Stepping Stones

    HRM:  It is understood that to make the ends like brain and brawn meeting together, certain elements like effective communication, consistent revision and constant encouragement are bare essentials, irrespective of any strategic modules. When the primary capital is human, then effective communication has to be the primary catalyst in raising it. Human capital is dynamic and thus it needs to be tuned regularly and should be kept in good spirit. This state of affairs clears the significance of human resource management, which today serves as one of the prime channels to implement the company policy towards mixing wisdom and youth to obtain the desired outcomes for the companies.

    While the quality of HRM can be a deciding factor for the desired outcome, the quality of another important element is no less important and it is the leadership quality of the organization.

    Leadership:  Undoubtedly, the key to achieve an uphill task like building multi-generational workforce in an organization is its leadership, where it would unify the entire team with its guidance and erase all the barriers between the young and the old. Such an approach boils down to the point of type of leadership – as leaders out to achieve such an aim certainly need a leadership style that would be most appropriate to the situation, where it should be able to imbibe the concept of seeing every human as a valuable resource to the heart of every worker. Servant leadership is such a style of functioning that aims to make everyone a leader by making everyone a best possible server, and thus it can be adopted as the most appropriate leadership style in this regard.

    However, both servant leadership style and HPWS should work in tandem to achieve the desired outcome, where their tasks can be cut out like below:

    A.    Forming a knowledge base about human capital.

    B.     Applying the components, which would effectively culminate the entire team into one cohesive and cogent workforce.

    A. Forming a Knowledge Base about Human Capital: Humans have a set of needs spread in various periods of their lives, and if they can attain all of those stages successfully, they are regarded as successful in life. There are many ideas that try to encompass those stages of needs, and out of them Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need is widely regarded as a convincing model that describes humans’ needs. Therefore it would be pertinent to have a brief look on Maslow’s model to ascertain the true need for guidance in the lives of young collegiate athletes.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

    This theory of Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) provides an outline of human needs that a manager should know and exploit to motivate the employees, because motivation is guided by unfulfilled needs. Thus Maslow’s model of ‘needs’ is invaluable to systematically pursue the needs while keeping the flow of motivation intact. Maslow’s model (Maslow’s, 2008) divides the human needs into five broad based categories and they are:

    1. Physiological Needs: Air, Water, Nourishment and Sleep – these are the basic needs of humans. It’s only after meeting this need, humans can look towards sustenance, and thus arrives the need like Safety need.

    2. Safety Needs: This need covers the issues of safety in both living and in work/study place, medical insurance, job security and financial backup. Security provides much needed mental space and time to the humans, where they can afford to pursue another vital need like Social Need.

    3. Social Needs: Group activities, socialization, or enhanced interpersonal communication are the elements that fulfill the social needs through which humans form a sense of belonging to their environment, which in turn paves the way for the next need, that is Esteem Need.

    4. Esteem Needs: At this stage humans turn their focus on esteem that involves recognition and social status, at the outer world and self-respect or sense of achievement in one’s own mind. This creates the platform to pursue the self-realization process, which is a unique and endless process; Maslow had named this ultimate need of humans as Self-actualization.

    5. Self-actualization: Every human life is ideally poised to pursue this need where one can delve deep within and keep on discovering oneself from many perspective both on mental and physical plane – it is something like playing in one’s own garden – as Maslow observed that Self-actualized persons can have frequent occurrences of peak experiences, which he described as the “moments of profound happiness and harmony” (Maslow’s, 2008).

    Going by Maslow’s model, it becomes clear that all humans need a viable roadmap in life and a set of philosophy to back their endeavor with confidence and joy. The collegiate athletes, who have already decided to pursue football, can be considered to have chosen their roadmap to attain the stages of various needs. Now all they need is a set of philosophy to morally and intellectually support their journey. It is here the need for leadership abilities come in, where it is expected to work in the following manner, from the perspective of the players.

    1.      Motivating in learning skills and tactics of the game.

    2.      Helping to be innovative in thinking and execution.

    3.      Guiding in decision-making while on the field.

    4.      Inspiring to take charge at any given moment of the game.

    5.      Guarding against provocations of young age.

    6.      Instilling rock-solid resolution about giving 100% to the team.

    7.      Finally, helping in successfully leading one’s own life and attaining all the need levels.

    Since leadership issue is no less important, knowledge about its basic functions, too, should be gathered. Leadership needs application of certain knowledge and skills characterized by the confidence of the leaders. There are several models of leadership that are being practiced in different areas of operation. However, they stem from some fundamental principles of leadership, which needs to be mentioned before one goes to explain the models. Therefore, following qualifications are regarded as bare essentials for any leader.

    Effective Communication
    One of the key components of leadership is the ability to communicate effectively. Leaders must be able to put the message across to the target audience to bring out the desired feedback from them. Obviously there are arts and sciences of influencing and directing the followers in a convincing manner and leaders ought to master them.

    Vision is the essential tool for the leader to see the big picture as well as to identify and utilize all the necessary elements to drive home the desired result. For example, in an organization, its leadership should identify the potentials of each of its members and determine the best possible roles for each of them, before culminating each individual workforce into a synchronized approach to achieve the desired target of the organization.

    It is through the application of ideas things become possible. It then calls for a guideline – something that would serve as the holy handbook both to the aspiring or inveterate leaders. Stephen Covey stresses on the direction and goal in his book, Principle-centered Leadership, thereby putting the ‘what’ and ‘where’ factors up in the order of a leader’s priority chart (Covey, 1992).

    Other Ideas
    Other thinkers too have their own lists of elements that can help the aspiring leaders. In his book, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell has presented the leadership issue as a set of applicable principles (Das, 2006).

    If one wants to have a brief look at leadership principles, The Spiritual Dimension of Leadership: 8 Key Principles to Leading More Effectively might prove handy. Its authors, Paul D. Houston and Stephen L. Sokolow produce an eight-point roadmap for effective leadership as briefly mentioned below.

    1.  Intention – Leaders should clear their intention at the first instance, because all the related activities that are usually directed by the leader and provided by the members will always reflect his physical and moral values.

    2. Attention – Leaders must always visualize the needs and benefits of his team and should always be fully attentive to the programs that are beneficial to the community.

    3. Unique Gifts and Talents – Special skills and talents are God given gifts to every individual; thus leaders should use their skills and intellectual thinking to provide a humanistic and unbiased leadership to his community.

    4. Gratitude – Leadership is more than giving of commands and duties. Leaders should have an interpersonal emotion, greater acceptance, and dipper appreciation for handling a serious obligation.

    5. Uniqueness of the Leaders – Developing uniqueness helps to create a better relationship towards other members, and leaders should exploit personal experience to provide a useful knowledge – “Unique life lessons” is a big contribution in having an enlightened leader.

    6. Holistic Perspective – Leaders should inspire the members to achieve their goals. By emphasizing the importance of the members in the society, through the implementations of the holistic perspective true leadership will be more effective.

    7. Openness – Leaders should always be open-minded in terms of the ideas and theories that are represented by the members of the public constituents. Any problems should seriously be discussed properly.

    8. Trust – Trust remains to be the core reason needed for the leadership skill (Houston, 2006). The leaders should apply trust to harp on the progressive idea on how to lead a certain group.

    Servant Leadership
    An innate desire to serve the followers is the hallmark of Servant Leadership, where the leader gets as close as s/he can to the followers and gathers maximum input that helps him/her to serve better. Here the focus of the leader remains fixed and untainted with its primary aim to serve others (Greenleaf, 1977). One great example of such leadership remains in the life and work of Holy Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:25-28) as Christ ushered total change from the core of their followers through serving wholeheartedly to them. No wonder then, why modern management is increasingly bending on servant leadership as a proven solution for all situations.

    Going by the observation of Stone and others (2004), servant leaders can be termed as Type S leaders under the framework where servant leadership is considered as Theory S and is distinctly different from three other theories viz., X, Y and Z as earmarked by McGregor (1967). The briefest description of them looks like as below:

    Theory X: Considers workers lazy and thus need to be monitored and governed.

    Theory Y:  Considers workers as self-motivated and responsible and have deep interest in their work.

    Theory Z: Applies both the ideas as and when necessary.

    Theory S: Takes care of leadership motivation and ensures the creation of a bridge of trust between the leader and the workers, where the workers respond to the situation with a belief that the leader is actually trying to empower them.

    Servant leadership is guided by the spiritual knowledge and sense of ethical axioms, which goes beyond the material transaction of the world and seeks to take its followers towards the road of infinite joy and happiness, which is the ultimate desire of humans and which is unattainable only with material satisfaction. Servant leaders try to change their followers from the core, where the said change is the best possible solution under the circumstance, and not driven by any special desire of the leader to gain out of it.

    The famous Maslow’s model too depends heavily on this kind of leadership to bloom, as its ultimate goal, “self-actualization”, can never be possible without the intervention of servant leadership. The essence of the servant leadership can thus be realized through the following powerful set of words (Figure – 1):

                                           Figure – 1

    However, each of these words deserves some explanation under the context.

    Moral Love: Going by Winston and Hartsfield’s (2004) ideas, it is moral love that plays catalyst in leaders’ minds in dealing their employees in a holistic manner – thereby automatically focusing on their needs, wants and desires.

    Humility: According to Hare (1996), it is the top degree of modesty that engulfs a human.

    Altruism: It’s about thorough concern about others’ well being (Patterson, 2003). Such emotional awareness should be bereft of any thought involving one’s own well being, besides containing tendencies of personal sacrifice”(Kaplan, p. 3).

    Self-awareness: According to Baron, “self awareness is the ability to recognize one’s feelings and to distinguish between them, besides the ability to determine the cause working behind it” (Baron, p. 15).

    Authenticity: Primarily it is the power to know and understand one’s values (Kouzes & Posner, 2002), while from the perspective of servant leadership, it can be seen as a “broad dimension, which includes sub-dimensions of humility, security, integrity, vulnerability, and accountability” (Sendjaya and Sarros, 2002, p. 57).

    Integrity: The leaders’ thought and actions should always be aligned, where the thoughts would be directed towards doing good for the world and actions would speak louder than words (Wright, 2004).

    Trust:  This trait/quality/spirit of the leaders demonstrate their honesty and openness, which is consistent with values (Kouzes and Posner, 2003, Yukl, 2003), where the leaders are supposed to be able to present their ideas clearly, besides being serious to fulfill their promises (Kouzes and Posner, 2003).

    Empowerment: This is the most vital element of servant leadership, because it sees all followers as servant leaders in the making and calls for fostering each follower towards attaining that status in their lives (Stanley and Clinton, 1992).

    Service: A servant leader should himself be a servant first (Greenleaf, 1977) from the perspective of spiritual connotation of the word.

    The above explanations are enough to substantiate the fact that the servant-leaders (type S) are bound to be effective in building multi-generational workforce. Figure two would further explain how servant leadership covers all the levels of existence of the followers.

    Figure – 2: The advantage of applying servant leadership under the context.

    Only after being armed with such a knowledge base, now leadership and HRM together can formulate a plan to create a multigenerational workforce, where its member value one another as an asset to the company. Accordingly, a blueprint of Leadership Development Program is presented below, which would run in several phases in a year.

    B. Applying the Essential Components to Convert the Entire Team into                             Multigenerational Workforce: For that matter the organizations can take a leaf or two from the established Leadership Excellence Programs run by the professional institutes like Disney Institute (Leadership, 2007), the proposed program will contain the following items at its various layer and it would contain several capsules under three sizes like short, medium and long.


    1. The concept and efficacy of servant leadership.

    2. The role of a servant leader.

    3. The stepping-stones of becoming a servant leader

    a) How to develop trust

    b) How to build accountability

    c) How to develop communication skills

                           i) Communication skill practice sessions

    d) How to motivate oneself

                           i) Exercises to develop motivation

    4. Goal Setting: Applying collective wisdom and creativity to it.

    5. Periodic review: Group discussion, and self-assessment exercises.

    6. Periodic review: Team performance.

    7. Concept of success and happiness: Discussion, audio-visual education on the ideas of proven servant leaders.

    The proposed program would be presented in the following package of formats:

    1.      Printed documents: Texts, Questionnaires, cartoons, pictures, banners, etc.

    2.      Audiovisual materials: Films, news clippings, PowerPoint presentations, music CD-s lectures of great leaders, etc.

    3.      Some fun games, puzzles etc. for group activities.


    Since the core issue is to develop a multi-generational workforce, the basic task should be to enhance the awareness of its efficacy among the team members – accordingly, a chart of benefit should be prepared and presented to the members through various ways, like below:

    1.      Enhanced state of interpersonal communication.

    2.      Enhanced social adjustment.

    3.      Certainty of consistent and quality Production.

    4.      Certainty of raising self-esteem by being a part of a unified group.

    5.      Enhanced level of social security.

    6.      Raised scope of pursuing other needs of life.

    7.      Raised scope of achieving happiness in life.

    Keeping in view of all of the above, a Leadership Inventory would be created that would contain easy questionnaire to assess the current standing of each of the probable participants (Eiche et. al, 1997).

    Presentation Process

    The program will have modules of various lengths, such as 90-minute presentations, Three-hour Flash Workshops, One-day awareness program, Four-day Leadership Camps. Each of the above would be made to meet different needs of the participants.


    Content-wise, the first part of the program would first highlight the aims and objectives of the program, and then it would justify the adoption of servant leadership. Second part would introduce servant leadership to the participants, highlighting its efficacy towards achieving best possible results in the chosen field. Third part would contain exhibits and reference materials of various types. Fourth part would cover practice materials, while the fifth part would contain discussion and group activity methods. Sixth and final part would contain materials related to evaluation and future orientation elements. This package of content would be spread among various presentation formats.

    For example, the 90-minute audio-visual presentation would contain clippings like real-life examples of servant leadership along with explaining commentary of the presenter, who would gradually align the philosophy of servant leadership with fiercely competitive ambience of modern trade and commerce with the aid of examples. In the process, the module would cover the vital issues like Vision, Involvement, Organization, Strategy, Change, Value of Service, etc. Care would be taken to avoid monotony by inducing refreshing breaks with humorous cartoons or quick puzzles, etc.

    Workshops would apply interactive methods, where the participants would be initiated to activate their own thinking about leadership and add to the content of the future.

    One-day seminars would augment all of the following, besides enhancing the scope of group interaction, while the Four-day Camp would follow a systematic presentation of all of the above amid an attractive ambience to create more mental space for the participants. This camp would ramify the issues and create more scopes for the participants to learn and deliver. A brief example might explain this better.


    DAY 1

    Introductory speech.

    Exploring strategies regarding vision

    Developing leadership vision

    Creating leadership action steps for vision

    Examining leaders’ role in creating an encouraging work environment.

    Participating in Field Experience.

    Creating self-leadership action steps.

    Performing an application activity.

    Fun Activity: Solving Leadership Quiz, etc.

    DAY 2

    Introductory speech covering day’s schedule

    Leadership Development Training: Examples and Ideas

    Field Experience: Interactive session with the trainers.

    Creating self-leadership module: Hands-on practice

    Group Discussion: On the above and other issues.

    Approach Building: How to keep the team on top of their game.

    Fun Activity: Musical program aligned with leadership issue, etc.

    DAY 3

    Introductory speech.

    Character Building Practice: Interactive session.

    Value-orientation: Evaluation of the examples from the lives of the great leaders.

    Discussion: Leadership Strategy, Self-Belief.

    Fun Activity: Follies of Leaders: a humorous dig at the lives of famous leaders.


    Summing up Session: Presentation of feedbacks.

    Free Interactive Session:

    Ceremony to mark the occasion: Group activities – skits, musical presentation.

    Valedictory Session.



    In this era of globalization, the workers deserve a moral guidance towards earning leadership qualities to lead their lives successfully. They should be taught to develop and utilize the power of collectivity. For that matter, the companies must adopt a step-by-step approach, where it should first build a knowledge and then impart that knowledge through appropriate channels like servant leadership and HPWS, where the duo should always be engaged to foster the newfound, dynamic capital of modern times – the human capital.



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