One of my favorite writers and thinkers is Simon Sinek. As a diagnosis of some of the major dysfunction coming out of modern parenting and education, you really can’t beat this 15-minute video discussion. It features Simon Sinek, an author and management/ leadership consultant who made a relatively big splash with his 2009 book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and has been an in-demand speaker on the lecture circuit ever since.
Sinek says there is an entire generation out there which has been poorly developed by our educational system and our current cultural practices on parenting, and further poisoned by technology – and because they’re now entering the workforce with such poor preparation for the real world, it’s going to be up to corporate America to provide the social skills – what people in human resources will call “soft skills” – that will remedy the problems bad parenting and bad culture have caused.
As we go through generational shifts, transfer of knowledge and workplace responsibilities, often we have found there is concern on how to bridge these generational gaps. This is a common concern for many of our clients, but many of our Government clients have really started to address this through their programs, including emerging leaders style programs and leadership academies.
So as the discussion is had about the Millennials in the workplace, are they really this generation that is entitled, or is that a misconception? What is it that they want? Have a look:
As we navigate through the generational shift taking place in the workplace. Perhaps there is an opportunity to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate our generational differences. Instead of looking at these as gaps, let’s figure out how to bridge them. Knowing that accountability, goal clarity and prioritizing responsibilities is such a critical component for driving Millennial engagement and reducing turnover…what can managers do?
Back to the Schoolyard: Telephone AND Simon Says
Think for a moment of the game telephone played by school children. A class of students will form a line. One student will be provided a phrase on a piece of paper, and they will whisper it into the ear of the student next to them. The process will continue with each student whispering what they believe the phrase was until it gets to the end of the line, until the last student has been told the phrase. Rarely are the phrase at the last student the same as what the first student was told. I have conducted this exercise in College classes as well, and the results have been the same as with children.
As humans, messages get lost amidst the noise of external factors and sometimes within how it is received. As a leader, not only must we be able to articulate the goal clearly, it is also imperative, that you ensure the people you lead can do so as well. If there are struggles present, perhaps it is an opportunity to have a discussion as to what the noise is, or what the perceived road blocks are on the path. Perhaps those you lead are clear on the goal, but because they have a closer pulse on the path to get there, they are able to spot hurdles that you may not see as the leader. How are you going to turn that key so that dialogue can happen, where not only are they able to align around the goals, but feel safe to share the roadblocks or other paths that may be there.
To make sure this environment is developed, as a leader, it is imperative that the people you lead feel safe. In his second book Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek really explains this in his Circle of Safety. Without safety, none of this will thrive.
Safe_Circle-1Safety does not mean ear plugs because it is too loud at work (although this is important). Safety means they can express their ideas and speak openly to you and others. Safety means they are valued for being valuable and that they trust you as the leader and others on the team. Safety means they know others will not allow them to fail and they will not allow others on their team to fail.
Thanks to the Hayride and 34Strong and to you for listening.