Forget X or Y Management Styles – Switch to Z 1

Are you ready for the most significant workforce shift in over 100 years? For the first time in our lifetime, we have the potential to work with four different generations at the same time. Each generation – Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z communicates, interacts with others, is motivated by different wants and needs and prefers to be managed differently. Forget X or Y management styles – switch to Z.

Worth Remembering – “People don’t leave jobs … they leave because of bad bosses and poor management who don’t appreciate their value.” – Tom Peters

Forget X or Y Management Styles

Theory X style of management, developed by Dr. Douglas McGregor, assumes that the average employee is inherently lazy, dislikes coming to work and avoids taking responsibility at all costs. They require constant, close supervision, and any system of rewards and punishment needs to be vigorously enforced to keep everyone in line.

On the other hand, the Theory Y management style is more of a decentralized participative style of management. It is built on the premise that workers enjoy coming to work and are self-motivated to accomplish tasks. They will accept responsibility and do not need supervisors or managers constantly looking over their shoulders to ensure the jobs get done. Workers are made to feel they are part of the solution – not the problem.

Worth Remembering – “Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate and reward them and stay out of their way and let them do the job. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.” – Lee Iacocca.

Switch to a Z Management Style

Gen Z will make up 27 percent of the workforce by 2025. Research is still ongoing, but we already know they are like no other generation that has come before them. Zeds are interested in working for an organization that allows for fun, friendships and life-enriching activities. To attract and retain Zeds, you must provide collaboration opportunities, lateral job movement, and multi-level participation in decision-making. You need to develop a management style more aligned with Edward Deming’s 14 points and remove barriers that rob employees of pride in workmanship. Managing and leading others must be more than just supervision and setting targets. It should include guiding and mentoring employees, so forget X or Y management styles – switch to Z.

Copyright (c) 2023. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To learn more about Brian and what he can do for you or your organization, visit – All four of Brian’s published books are available on Amazon –

One comment

  1. Pingback: Forget X or Y Management Styles – Switch to Z – Tyrancatech

Comments are closed.