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Embracing “Eyes On, Hands Off” Leadership for Inclusive Teams Engage Employee

4 minute read

Paul-Anderson Walsh, CEO of ENOLLA Consulting, a specialised consultancy with focus on human inclusion, explains why it’s important to have an “eyes on, hands off” approach to employee engagement.

For an inclusive leader, the principle "Eyes on, Hands Off" is essential, we should adopt an attentive but non-intrusive leadership.

New employees' decision on whether to stay with an organisation, hinges on their ability to grow both professionally and personally. In today's diverse, multi-generational workplace, leaders need to recognise that different generations have varying growth needs. Just as different plants require specific care to thrive, different generations need tailored support, communication styles, and opportunities for success.


The "Eyes on, Hands Off" approach benefits inclusive leadership by promoting guided autonomy and accountability. It allows team members to assert their independence, make decisions, and build confidence without micromanagement. This strategy fosters trust, innovation, cognitive diversity, and a culture of respect by valuing the unique contributions and backgrounds of team members. Leaders observe without intervening, which accelerates learning from mistakes and reduces dependency, aligning with Steve Jobs' philosophy of hiring great people and giving them freedom.

So how would this approach be applied effectively across different generational cohorts:


Monitor their comfort with evolving technologies and new organisational practices, ensuring they feel included and respected.

Give them space to utilise their experience and expertise. Avoid micromanaging, instead offering support when they seek it, recognising their ability to handle responsibilities due to their vast experience.

Baby Boomers

Observe their contributions and recognise their dedication and leadership. Be aware of their desire for acknowledgment and their interest in legacy-building projects.

Allow them to take initiative and lead projects. Boomers have a strong work ethic and appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate their competence without being closely monitored.

Generation X

Keep track of their work-life balance and professional development needs. Gen Xers values efficiency and might seek opportunities to improve processes.

Provide flexibility in how they complete their work. Gen Xers appreciates autonomy and can be demotivated by micromanagement. Trust them to meet their objectives in their own way.


Regularly check in on their professional growth and personal well-being. Millennials value development and may seek feedback more frequently.

Encourage them to innovate and collaborate in their own style. While they appreciate guidance, they also thrive when given the freedom to explore and implement new ideas in collaborative settings.

Generation Z

Monitor their integration into the workforce and their comfort with workplace dynamics, especially around technology and diversity issues.

Give them the tools and technology they need and let them run with it. Gen Zers value independence but also want clear and accessible resources for when they need guidance.

Inclusive leadership is about recognising the different generations in the workplace, each requiring specific conditions to thrive. Traditionalists need a stable, respectful environment with recognition and opportunities to share their knowledge. Baby Boomers prosper in achievement-oriented cultures with regular acknowledgment and leadership opportunities. Generation Xers thrive on autonomy, efficiency, and a balanced work-life with clear career paths. Millennials excel in collaborative settings with frequent feedback and rapid advancement opportunities. Gen Zers need innovative, tech-savvy environments that support mental health and value diversity. By understanding and meeting these needs, leaders can help intergenerational teams to flourish, enhancing individual well-being and team productivity.

This leadership style focuses on support, facilitation, and resource provision rather than control, allowing each individual to develop at their own pace. By fostering a diverse and healthy environment, this leadership style values unique perspectives and talents, enhancing collective success. This inclusive, growth-oriented approach is vital in today’s diverse and fast-evolving organisational contexts, promoting adaptability and collective input for sustained success.

By Paul Anderson-Walsh is CEO of ENOLLA Consulting, a specialised consultancy with focus on human inclusion.

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