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  • Writer's pictureTracey Wozny

How Discipline Bridges Younger Generation's “Chill” to Older Generation's “Drill.”

In an era where rapid technological advancements and cultural shifts shape the way we live and work, leading Generation Z presents unique challenges and opportunities. Born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, Gen Zers are true digital natives who value authenticity, flexibility, and innovation. However, amidst the fast-paced digital world, the timeless virtues of discipline, structure, and consistency remain crucial for their personal and professional development. 


Leaders of today, often from older generations, play a pivotal role in coaching these young leaders. They must bridge the generational divide with empathy, understanding, and role-modeling leadership. On the other end, they must find the balance of instilling the value of consistency, structure, and discipline.



Here are three key focuses that leaders who are leading Generation Z can implement in their leadership: 


Fostering a Growth Mindset through Consistency

Consistency is the foundation of mastery and growth. For Gen Z, living in a world of instant gratification, the concept of consistency in effort over time can be challenging yet important to understand. 


Leaders can coach young leaders on the importance of persistence by setting small, achievable goals. This approach not only makes the journey towards larger objectives more attainable but also demonstrates the power of implementing small habits over time that will lead to achievement. 


Sharing personal stories of how consistent actions led to success can be particularly impactful. It's about showing them that overnight success is a myth and that real progress, whether in career or personal life, requires time, patience, and regular effort.


Another way to foster a growth mindset in younger generations is to acknowledge when you are seeing the practice of small habits consistently. Instead of pointing out to them what you don’t see, try reversing your leadership into praise when you do see the small steps toward achieving growth. 


Implementing Structure in a World of Distractions

The digital age offers endless distractions, making it easy for Gen Z to lose focus. Leaders of younger generations must first model in their own lives what structure and prioritization looks like. Ask yourself as a leader of younger generations, how are you showing up as a leader? Do your own actions match your words? 


Along with role modeling this consistency, leaders need to set a consistent structure and provide clarity for expectations on the front side of their leadership. Once the expectations are clearly defined, it becomes the most important job of the leader to hold young leaders accountable. 


Leaders can also teach the value of structure by helping them prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively. Introducing tools and techniques for organization, such as digital planners or time-blocking methods, can be a game-changer. 


Moreover, encouraging them to set aside specific times for work and rest can help in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It's crucial for leaders to emphasize that structure does not limit freedom but rather creates the framework within which creativity and productivity thrive.


Discipline: The Path to Freedom and Achievement

Discipline often carries a negative “vibe”, especially among younger generations who value flexibility and autonomy. However, leaders can reframe discipline as a path to achieving one's goals and realizing one's potential. 


By leading by example and showing how disciplined habits contribute to personal and professional success, leaders can inspire Gen Z to adopt similar practices. It's about demonstrating that discipline in one's actions leads to greater freedom by enabling individuals to take control of their lives. 


Bridging the Generational Divide: Empathy, Questions, and Example


Understanding the struggle that many older generations may have in leading Gen Z is crucial. The key is not to impose but to guide, not to dictate but to inspire. 


Asking great questions that prompt reflection and self-assessment can help young leaders understand the value of discipline, structure, and consistency on their own terms. Leaders must be relatable, sharing their own struggles and learning experiences, thereby creating a culture of mutual respect and continuous learning.


Here are valuable questions to ask when coaching younger generations through consistency: 

  1. Why is this important to you?

  2. How is this showing up for you right now?

  3. How would you like things to be instead? 

  4. What is standing in your way?

  5. How would you like to approach it? 

  6. What is one step you can take next? 





Leading by example is perhaps the most powerful tool in a leader's tool kit. When Gen Z sees their mentors embodying the principles of discipline, structure, and consistency, they are more likely to model these behaviors. It's about creating a legacy of leadership that values perseverance, organization, and self-control as keys to unlocking one's full potential.


While leading Generation Z into the future, it's imperative for leaders to emphasize the timeless virtues of discipline, structure, and consistency. By coaching young leaders through empathy, asking insightful questions, and leading by example, we can help them establish solid habits that will serve them throughout their lives. In doing so, we bridge the generational divide and lay the foundation for a future where every individual can achieve their highest potential.


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