5 DIFFERENT GENERATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE! How to cope.
by Ann Meacham
Today’s managers and leaders have an unprecedented challenge: up to five generations working side by side in their workforce. Each generation brings its own life stage, communication preferences, priorities, and more.
Problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. Frictions may be aggravated by new technology and work patterns that mix workers of different ages.
The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation. But experts say managers must be careful not to follow blanket stereotypes.
Here is a quick overview of the five generations by birth years:
Generation Z: born 1996 & after up to 20 years old
Generation Y: born 1977 – 1995 21 – 39 (aka Millennials)
Generation X: born 1965 – 1976 40 – 51
Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964 52 – 70
Traditionalists: born 1945/before 71 and older
1. Train your managers to recognize generational differences and adapt. Start with the leaders.
2. Drop the routines. Experts say Millennials and Gen Xers dislike the formality of regular meetings, especially when there’s nothing to discuss. Limit meetings to when there’s a real need.
3. Encourage cross-generational interaction. Try a mentoring program: Younger employees learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees; older employees learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees.
4. Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Boomers nearing retirement might use telecommuting to stay involved, Xers might need flexibility to attend kid events or attend to aging parents, and Millennials enjoy the freedom of getting work done without being in an office.
5. Accommodate different learning styles. Boomers may favor more traditional methods while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning.
6. Keep employees engaged. Provide regular educational and training opportunities and career advice to keep all workers interested in the company. Fuel the high expectations of Millennials with special assignments that are outside their jobs. Consider putting them on a task force to solve a problem.
This is a complex and very real issue. Are you dealing with it like a pro?
Check out my Leadership Coaching Program on this website.
Read other tips in Leaders’ Digest
Managers Left-Brain Focus
This is Why Leaders Get Better Results
“Efficiency is the best way to produce great results.” NOPE!
YES . . efficiency is important. I’ve seen efficient teams that still couldn’t meet their production goals. Left-Brain thinking alone can’t make it happen.
LEFT-BRAIN handles what is said. It focuses on planning, analysis, and reporting.
RIGHT-BRAIN focuses on how it is said – the facial expression, the tone of voice, the circumstances in which it was said. The body language and feelings around what is really going on. These help us know if they understand us and if we can believe them.
Who doesn’t love pizza?*
That’s the question Dan Ariely implies in his upcoming book Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations. In the book, Ariely, a behavioral economist, recounts a week-long experiment in which employees working at a semiconductor factory were promised one of three things if they were able to assemble a certain number of chips per day:
A. A cash bonus of approximately $30
B. A voucher for a free pizza
C. A complimentary text message of “Well done!” from the boss
*A fourth group, serving as the control, received nothing.
Interestingly, pizza was the top motivator on day one–increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group. This is somewhat surprising considering the cash only motivated a 4.9 percent increase…and actually resulted in a 6.5 percent drop in productivity for the week overall.
What was the biggest motivator of the week?
The compliment proved to be the very best motivator. Productivity in the Pizza group dropped by the end of the week (still better than the control group) whereas the Text from the Boss gained a little.
Why Praise Matters
Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People: There is one longing–almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep–which is seldom gratified. It’s a craving to be appreciated.
When you commend and praise members of your team, you satisfy a basic human craving and provide motivation as a byproduct–as was highlighted in Ariely’s experiment.
And just think: If the promise of a simple text message from the boss can increase productivity, can you imagine what real, sincere, authentic praise could do?
To be clear, it can’t be flattery or praise that you don’t really mean.
Everyone deserves praise for something; as a leader, it’s your job to figure out what. To look for the good, to see the potential and bring out the best in them.
Your employees will value that a heckuva lot more than pizza.
I guarantee it.
Talk to me about how to recognize and acknowledge good work. Check out my Leadership Coaching Program
*Adapted from Justin Bariso, Founder, Insight in Inc.com
**Please notice my new logo. The roots, trunk and leaves represent the organic growth of the leader. When the leader grows, their business grows!
? Is your team working as hard as than they could?
? Do your employees work well together without conflicts or tension?
? Are your customers loyal – returning time and again for your products and services?
If you answered yes to these four questions, STOP READING. You already have a top notch team running your business, producing quality goods/services, and creating great relationships with your customers.
If you answered “sometimes,” “not often,” or “never,” please read below.
4 WAYS TO BUILD A TEAM THAT HELPS BUILD YOUR COMPANY
1. Hire the best when you can.
2. Be about what you expect from each team member – model the way.
3. Identify roles: Have clarity around who does what. e.g. the person who will lead or manage the team
4. Greet customers/clients in a way that makes them feel valued and respected.
The leader of the team may not be you because your talent is focused on envisioning the direction of the business and closing the best deals. Decide who is the best person to keep spirits high and expect efficiency at the same time.
Remember, you set the tone for the entire company. When you show that you care about high quality, efficient services and positive relationships with customers, clients, and everyone in the company, they are much more likely to care too. In other words, they will mimic your behaviors.
If you missed the 1st article click here
7. Open up the office. Millennials generally don’t work well under rigid management structure. They prefer open collaborations that allow employees to share information and for everybody to contribute to decision-making. Take advantage of the Millennials’ preference for teamwork and encourage more solidarity throughout the workplace.
8. Recognize good work. Recognition is most effective if the style and desires of the generation are acknowledged. What is inspiring to a Gen Xer might be boring to a Millennial. Everyone wants to be recognized for their good work. Figure out what works best for each group.
9. Accommodate personal employee needs when possible. Different generations will be in different stages of life and need some scheduling flexibility. Maintain parity so other employees don’t feel alienated. Boomers who are thinking of retirement, for example, may want to cut the number of hours they work in exchange for reduced pay. Gen Xers who need to leave work early to attend a parent/teacher function can agree to make up lost time at another date. Millennials may want to pursue another degree part time. Extend the same educational opportunities to other employees.
10. Give all employees a voice. Regardless of age and tenure, give all employees a forum in which to present ideas, concerns and complaints. Department heads can facilitate open communication throughout the office and set aside time to provide honest feedback.
11. Tailor communications to generational styles. Boomers may prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Millennials grew up being in constant communication with peers and coworkers so are accustomed to emailing, texting or sending instant messages.
12. Remember generational traits are not usually character issues like immaturity, laziness or intractability. Whereas Boomers may see a 60-hour work week as a prerequisite to achieving success, many hard-working Gen Xers and Millennials may prefer a more balanced life that includes reasonable working hours–with occasional bouts of overtime–and weekends off. They may voluntarily choose to make up the time in unstructured settings like working at home or in a coffee shop on weekends.
I’d love to share how I can help you drive more productivity in your team.
The general consensus is that social media, especially Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have created a culture of self-promotion. Given a vehicle to let people know how great they are without appearing to brag has led to the trend of humble bragging.
The term “humblebrag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.”
by Ann Meacham
Faster delivery and more rapid deployment of solutions. Promoting innovation and growth. This is wonderful news for using a creative energetic process that permits out of the box thinking while increasing customer satisfaction.
New (or enhanced) product or service implementation occurs much faster than ever before. A new mindset, new processes, new tools, and of course skilled resources are required.
As technocrats we develop a solution or enhancement, create a plan and set the wheels rolling for implementing the change. Too often we believe we can circumvent the “people” development side of the equation. We play down the importance of involving and engaging the teams in the decision making, planning and execution.
Our resources are the crux of the matter. We must continue to understand how people work, think, act and react, and we need to understand that the basic foundation of any team is trust. The faster you build it, the better it is for obtaining results!
How to be adaptive and agile
By Ann Meacham
Think about how you would handle a situation like this and select the assertive answer. Joanna is a director who oversees several project managers. One of her managers is habitually late in turning in vital time-sensitive reports. Not only are the reports late, but they are incomplete or inaccurate. Joanna’s normal response is to give a heavy sigh and scold the project manager for being late. The report is due the tomorrow.
If you were Joanna, what would you do?
a. Find a way to push back the deadline to give her more time.
b. Tell her that she’s doing a terrible job and this can’t go on and “write her up”
c. Show her what corrections need to be made and have her stay until the report is finished.
d. After scolding her take over and finish the report yourself so it will be turned in on time.
‘c’ is the assertive answer. In the past Joanna had consistently stayed late to fix the report so it would be on time and her department would look good. Her project manager was accustomed to this and had become lazy because she knew Joanna would make everything right. She learned how to hold her manager accountable for her actions. Her manager changed her attitude toward the monthly activity, learned how to effectively complete it, and showed more respect for Joanna in other situations as well.
The other choices:
‘a’ is passive, reinforces the manager’s lack of responsibility and solves nothing in the long term.
‘b’ is aggressive and both deflating for the manager and a demonstration of Joanna’s disappointment in herself for not ensuring that the report be completed on time.
‘d’ is passive, allowing upward delegation and leaving the manager feeling unsatisfied with her job as well.
The key to a positive outcome in situations like this is to set clear standards and expectations at the beginning – then make sure the person does what is expected of him/her (accountability).
Expect respect and accept only that!
Thank you to those who commented on my article, “Kindness in Leadership,” a few weeks ago. Now let’s take the conversation to the next level. One comment received:
“I believe that you can still lead and be a boss while putting the consideration of your employees in mind. To me, a manager is someone who tells someone to get something done and expects it in turn. A leader inspires or motivates someone positively to do it because it is the right thing to do.” Andrew Day
What does kindness in performance management look like?
First, keep in mind that the kindest action is to give feedback along the way in a frank and respectful way.
A basic format for managing performance:
· Plan – clearly communicate expectations and outcomes
· Support – provide resources, information, encouragement, and guidance (including milestone check-in and feedback)
· Review – evaluate end results
· Reward and recognize – yes, you made it!
By Ann Meacham
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey, former Governor of Nebraska and US Senator.
Strong leadership and kindness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they fit together effectively. The most successful leaders treat their team members with kindness. They realize that kindness is motivating.
The current CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, says, “Take care of the associates, the associates will take care of the guests, and the guests will come back again and again.”
How can you apply this statement to your business? Some managers and executives believe being kind to their people will cause them to be lazy and under perform. The reality is that motivated team members lead to a winning organizational culture, which leads to people having pride in their work, their team and their company, which leads to outstanding results and superior client/customer service.
People want their managers to be honest and make the time to help them learn and succeed. They realize this often means being forthright and leveling with them about areas of skill development. Yet, managers are often too busy to follow through on their responsibility to give constructive feedback to help their people learn and grow.
It is important to realize that giving constructive feedback, mentoring and coaching our team members and others are also acts of kindness. Everyone wants to do well and be successful.
We can give constructive feedback in a kind manner, letting our people know we genuinely care about them. Reach out to your people when good things happen, not just when something goes wrong. Note: This feedback must be genuine. No platitudes!
“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll
How can you use kindness with your people? Notice how it makes a difference.
One of the most important tasks for a leader is to coach and guide the managers and leaders in their firm. As one person said,
“You can see the strength of the leader by how strong her subordinates are and how they use their strengths to contribute in the best way possible.”
Success follows the leaders who have these top priorities:
1. Set the vision
2. Have the right people in place
3. Set clear expectations
4. Inspire them to achieve.
5. Hold them accountable.
The challenge is that even though managers agree that it is their responsibility to bring out their employee’s personal best, most don’t act on it. There are many reasons for this.
Rally your team around a common goal and purpose then let them execute to the best of their abilities.
The greatest satisfaction a leader gets is when the team receives the credit for achievements and people say, “It just happened naturally”
How do you inspire your people to be their best?
Managing scope creep in Project Management is achievable.
7 Tips for Preventing Scope Creep
1. Be sure you thoroughly understand the project vision. Meet with the client and deliver an overview of the project.
2. Understand your priorities and the priorities of the client. Consider budget, deadline, feature delivery, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
3. Ensure that your person in charge of the project is clear on expectations – both from you and the client. Check in with this person periodically to provide clarification and support.
4. Outline your deliverables – keep them general.
5. Define the requirements – set the details and a manageable schedule.
6. Break the project down into major and minor milestones.
7. Expect that there will be scope creep. Implement change order forms early and educate the project drivers on your processes. Frequently communicate with the client.
Be thorough in setting expectations, budgets and timelines. That way, you are in a better position to control your project, instead of your project controlling you.
We can work on this together. Call me at 860-788-504. email@example.com