Change is constant. To implement change you must listen, engage, and empower individuals in the change process.
Training Magazine - Create a Culture for Results
Excerpt from “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.”
by Dianne M. Durkin.
Article | Tue, 04/30/2013
By Dianne M. Durkin
“The true essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.
You can’t just blow an uncertain trumpet.”
There are many myths about leadership that often prevent people from developing their leadership skills. They think if they were not born a leader with some magic leadership dust in their DNA, they cannot become one in the future.
While some people may be more natural leaders than others, some of the best leaders I have worked with are men and women who went beyond cultivating their own leadership skills and instead created a culture of leadership in their organizations. In this book, that is what I am going to bring to life for you —the reality that leadership does not belong to just one person. Leadership inspires others and becomes a contagious force. In this chapter, I explore vision, purpose, values, trust, and how they are all part of your role as a leader. In Chapter Two, there are some tools to help you evaluate yourself as a leader and accountability tools to keep you stay on track.
Great Leaders Realize that Leadership Is an Engine
It is an engine of innovation that runs on change, truth, communication, and vision. Great leaders make a difference in the lives of their people, their organizations, and the processes. In Chapter Three, I look at how to recruit and retain the best people. With the right people on board, there is nothing an organization cannot accomplish.
Great Leaders Encourage Their People to Bring Their Brains to Work
The fastest way to lower the IQ of an organization is to create a culture where people only follow the rules and never think outside their job descriptions. In Chapter Four, I explore how to fully engage and empower your employees, so they are always thinking and contributing their best.
Great Leaders Appreciate People and Let Them Know It
Again and again, I have seen this in my work with organizations. Money is not the motivator. What people want is for work to fulfill a basic emotional human need; they want to feel appreciated. In Chapter Five, I focus on appreciation and the importance of rewarding and recognizing people.
Great Leaders Create Loyalty
Leadership is not an ego game. It is purpose driven. I heard Frances Hesselbein, president and CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute and former CEO of Girl Scouts of America, speak at a conference where she addressed the Women President’s Organization. In her presentation, she told the audience that great leaders always put purpose first—never their own egos. In Chapter Six, I look at traits of outstanding leaders, two case studies that show Magnetic Leadership in motion, and how the health of the CEO can be a model for the health of an organization.
Great Leaders Look Ahead
In Chapter Seven, I look at the future of leadership. From the power of social media and technology to the importance of a global perspective, we see how Magnetic Leadership will be even more important in an age of increased transparency.
Great Leaders Take Action
In Chapter Eight, you can start your engines. We end with 10 steps you can implement immediately.
I know it sounds like a lot to tackle. It is really about going back to basics. In each chapter, I will talk about how you can get R.E.A.L. about becoming a Magnetic Leader:
Recruitment that gets the right people on the bus in the right spots and also shows you how to Retain them.
Engaging, Empowering, and Enriching employees and providing the right Environment for success. I will take you through the Big E and show you why this vowel rocks an organization in the most powerful of ways.
Appreciating people. What do people want most? It is not money. It is to be rewarded and recognized.
Leadership that leads to loyalty. Leadership is not about ego. It is the opposite. It is about purpose first. When leadership attracts the right people and engages, empowers, and appreciates them, the result is loyal, productive employees.
So, are you ready to get started? Let us kick it off with a powerful trio.
Vision. Purpose. Values: A Powerful Trio
So, where do you begin this leadership journey? Before you can rally the troops, you have to have a compelling vision. Now, do not sigh. I know what you are thinking. You have been through a million visioning exercises.
Vision gets a bad rap in many organizations because too many people have sat through a PowerPoint presentation where management presents a vision, and then it promptly disappears forever. And what happens? People feel cheated. They feel like an outsider, not the insider they want to be.
It does not have to be that way. When vision comes to life in an organization, it is powerful and it changes the status quo forever.
People want to see change that is meaningful. They want you to tell them the truth, communicate regularly, and they want a vision they can believe in and follow. For that to happen, you need vision and its two dance partners: purpose and values.
When you couple vision with purpose and values, everyone is dancing together. It is an unbeatable trio that can move mountains.
- Vision expresses where you are going. Vision is what brings your employees to the dance floor. It is a clear picture of the future that inspires people. I want to caution you to avoid the natural temptation to write one of those long, rambling paragraphs that includes all the buzzwords du jour. That is not a vision. It is a long paragraph no one will remember. Instead, state your future in a clear, concise statement that motivates and engages.
- Purpose is simple. Purpose answers two questions: What business are you in, and what difference are you making in this world?
- Clear values. What guides your behavior and the decisions you make on a daily basis? This is the “how” part of your vision. While you may not write it in the statement, it is how the statement comes alive because this is how you behave every day. You need to communicate these values, and then lead by example as you demonstrate these values in your decisions and actions.
Examples of Inspiring Vision Statements
Yes, anyone can write a run-of-the-mill vision statement. Do not do that. Remember that your vision needs to create a picture your organization can see and understand. So make sure your vision paints that kind of picture. The picture can, of course, connect to business goals and spreadsheets. That is for the meeting with the chief financial officer. To inspire and unite your organization, you want simplicity, clarity, and a spark that ignites the imagination—not a rambling paragraph.
Here are three that inspire me.
If you have a body, you are an Athlete.
This was an original vision statement of Nike, coined by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. The picture it paints is clear—everyone has the potential to be an athlete, and so everyone is a potential customer of Nike. This statement has a more emotive purpose because it goes beyond “we sell sneakers” to “we sell inspiration.” This is in the same spirit as Just Do It, their memorable and often-quoted tagline.
We bring humanity to the air.
This was a vision statement shared in a JetBlue letter to shareholders several years ago, and it still remains firmly entrenched in my mind. It is one of the best vision statements I have ever read. I love the purpose of this one because it reminds employees they are not just flying people from point A to point B. They are in the business of providing people with a good experience in the air. The statement is a challenge to change the way people view air travel. The picture of the future it conjures is one of happy, smiling passengers versus what many think of when boarding an airplane.
To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
This is from Starbucks, and it is on their Website as their mission. However, I see it as a great vision statement because it is not talking about how much coffee the company is going to sell. It talks about the picture that is painted when employees do their job right. Starbucks has known for a long time that the company is not selling coffee. It is selling an experience. It is a haven in the middle of a busy day. Starbucks wants to inspire and nurture us. Guess where this vision needs to resonate? With the people making your grande latte. That is a challenge we all can relate to. No matter the size of your business, you have to infuse that vision throughout your organization.
Excerpt from Chapter One, “Create a Culture for Results,” from “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.” by Dianne M. Durkin. To purchase the book on Amazon.com, visit http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Magnetic-Leadership-R-E-A-L/dp/1453751238/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359063012&sr=8-1&keywords=magnetic+leadership++durkin
Dianne M. Durkin is the president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer, and brand loyalty for corporations and smaller businesses. Her background includes finance, direct sales, international marketing, and training and development.
She is the author of two books: “The Loyalty Factor: Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty” and “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.” For more information, visit www.loyaltyfactor.com; http://www.linkedin.com/in/queenofloyalty; http://twitter.com/LoyaltyFactor; http://www.loyaltyandretention.com.
Inspiyr - 10 Steps to Succeed At Work
by Dianne Durkin | on April 5th, 2013 |
1. Ask, Listen & Volunteer
One of the things successful people are good at is asking questions. In many cases, people ask a lot of “Why” questions: Why are we doing it this way? Why do we have to continue to do it this way? Questions are secret weapons to move ahead and forward. One way to step up your game at the office is to simply change your questioning strategy to:
- What can I do to improve this situation?
- What improvements can we make to this process?
- What are the things we should stop doing and what should we continue doing?
This approach brings a level of innovation and creativity into our thinking and maintains a positive approach. By asking questions people feel as though you are interested, engaged, and passionate about what you are doing.
The second part is to listen for the revealing answers. Listening can be very difficult because we all have our own biases and listening is hard work. It takes twice as much energy to listen than to talk. I encourage people to listen not only for the content, but for the emotions behind the words. This highest level of listening is called empathetic listening. An empathetic listener is someone who listens beyond the words to understand the feelings, intentions, and implications of what the other person is saying. For example, if a person is telling you about certain things that need to be changed about a process or procedure, one of the things you want to listen for is how much pain, anxiety, frustration the present procedure is causing this person. That will help you determine the level of importance of solving this particular issue.
The last part of this first step is to volunteer. If you believe you might have a solution, volunteer to look into the situation. This does not mean you need to promise a solution, all you need to say is, “I am going to look into this and determine if there is a better way.” Another very important point is to ask for help. In this complex changing world we live in, it is very difficult for one person to know everything. As a result we all need to help one another and ask for help when we need it.
The only way we can learn and grow is to engage other people, ask for their assistance and advice and listen to them.
2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
No one likes to be an island and no one likes to second guess individuals. Transparency is key in business and in creating long-term relationships and let’s face it, long-term relationships is what business is all about. If you have a new idea, share it with others. If you have information that you have discovered, share it with others. Knowledge is information. Wisdom is knowing what to do with the information. AND the real power in this world is how you communicate that information, which leads me to the next step which is passion.
3. Have Passion
Show your passion for what you do. It is contagious. You can be sure that if you are very excited about something and express it with true belief and passion, everyone around you will become equally engaged and excited. This directly leads into another concept I would like to talk about: “Do what you love and love what you do.” If in fact you do this, you will have passion beyond all expectations. Doing what you love and loving what you are doing will bring out the best in you and the best results for the organization you are working for and trust me, it will be appreciated.
4. Continuously Improve
I tell everyone you should be learning something new on a daily basis and if at the end of an evening you are putting your head on your pillow and you have not learned something new, I suggest you put the light back on, open a book and read to learn something new and interesting. It is only with this continuous improvement that we continually grow and develop. In addition, it keeps our brain young and full of vitality. You may want to read business magazines relevant to your industry, technical journals also relevant to your industry, or you may want to ask your employer to send you to some training programs, seminars, or workshops. All of this helps in your growth and development.
Show an interest and it is very rare that a company or an organization will not allow you to grow and develop. Great leaders of great organizations recognize people who are growing and developing do not leave their organizations.
5. Be Positive
No one likes to be around people with a negative attitude. In business, positivity is the key to success. The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts, the past, education, money, circumstances, failures, successes, and whatever other people think or say and do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, and skill. It will make or break a person, a company, a home. We all have a choice every single day regarding our attitude and whatever attitude we embrace for that day is the attitude that will allow us to soar and create that positivity. We all need to remember that we cannot change our past, we cannot change that people will act in a certain way, nor can we change the inevitable. The only thing we CAN do is to play the one string that we have: ATTITUDE. I think we all have to remember that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.
6. Build Your Trust Bank
Trust is essential for all organizations and at all levels of an organization. You need to be trusted by your coworkers and everyone you deal with. When trust exists, they will work with you as a team, people will believe in you and they will be willing to partner with you to create incredible results for yourself and the organization.
There are four major elements of trust. The first is straightforwardness. What individuals need to do is set expectations that are clear, make sure disagreements are discussed and resolved and individual expectations are discussed and agreed upon.
The second one is openness. The way you achieve openness is to make sure you exchange information and communicate, communicate, communicate! As we said before, communication is key to all success.
The third is acceptance. Respecting and accepting people for their contributions and their differences. It would be great if everyone in the world was just like us, at the same time it would be a very boring world and we would not get the creativity and the innovation that is so needed in the business world. Accepting people for the differences in their skillsets, their values and how they operate is key to building trust and reliability. This is one element that cannot be understated. You need to do what you say and say what you do. In the business world you need to be sure people can count on you and your word. Building your trust bank will help you grow to be a huge success in your organization.
7. Communicate Confidently
We have continually mentioned throughout this article that communication is critical to one’s success. With communications you really need to adjust and flex your style to work effectively with other individuals. Some people are very process-oriented. They need to know every detail associated with that particular project or situation. Others are very results-oriented. With a results person you need to get to the bottom-line very quickly. Others are relationship-oriented, which means you need to say hello, find out how their children and family are before you get into the business environment. Lastly there are those individuals who need to be recognized. In many cases you need to complement and recognize them prior to getting into the business issues. Also, these people can be very valuable because they have a creative and innovative side and when you engage them in your projects you will get new ideas you never thought of before. The key to getting these new ideas is to make sure they are valued, appreciated, recognized and complemented. It all amounts to one thing: flexing your style to meet the needs of the other person.
As part of this communications with confidence, it is important to understand you should communicate with confidence only when you are sure of the information you are providing. This means you need to research it. Blowing smoke or generalizing situations will not help you in building that rapport, respect and credibility with individuals within the organization.
8. Embrace Change
In today’s business world, change is continual. If organizations are not changing they are not growing. Everyone in the organization needs to be part of the change process. You need to be a “change agent”. Look for the positive aspects of the change, embrace the change, and be an influencer in helping others embrace the change. You may even want to be the person who initiates some changes. Going back to what we talked about earlier, volunteer to solve major business issues. While doing this be prepared for resistances and be prepared to be an advocate for the changing process. The way you are an advocate is to show people the benefits to them. Everyone is interested in: What does this mean for me? In answering that question, you will get people to embrace any changes you are trying to implement.
9. Look Ahead
It is always great to do the job of today. I encourage everyone to be the best they can be at whatever they are doing. At the same time it is important to plan ahead and look ahead and do some strategic thinking. A lot of people need time to think outside the box and do this strategic thinking. I therefore encourage you to take some time on a monthly basis to think about:
- Where am I/are we today?
- Where do I/we want to be for the future?
- How should I/we get there?
Part of looking ahead is making sure you understand the competitive and market pressures of the future. This goes along with step 3: Continuously Improve. Always read, be aware of what is happening in the world, and how it impacts your particular business, expertise, or industry.
10. Understand Strengths and Areas for Development
The last and certainly not least is to truly understand your strengths and areas for development. We all have strengths and we need to capitalize on those strengths. At the same time, we all have areas for development and we need to work on those areas for development and/or supplement them by teaming with people who have the expertise we do not have or that can complement our deficiencies.
In summary, make a difference in this world by being the absolute best you can be, helping others be the best they can be and working effectively with all types of individuals. In doing so you will be a magnet that people will want to be around, want to partner with and they will trust. It will lead to huge success personally, professionally, and financially.
Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Durkin has over 25 years experience in finance, direct sales, international marketing and training and development. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people. She authored “The Loyalty Factor: Building Employee, Customer and Brand Loyalty,” and the newly released “The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L.”
Drake Business Review - Effectively Managing the Multi-Generational Workforce
By Dianne Durkin
With competition for talent on the rise, developing a corporate culture of employee engagement and commitment has become a foundational imperative for most organizations. Creating and maintaining a high-performing workforce is at the core of nearly every business strategy, and the rewards for doing it right include increasing employee satisfaction, reducing turnover, optimizing productivity, and positioning the organization for growth.
The stakes are even higher for organizations facing such immediate challenges as a merger or acquisition, volatile market conditions, new competitive threats, or any serious need to influence internal change in response to external forces.
Another element compounds the pressure and raises the stakes on employee commitment. Never before has there been such a diversity of generations in the workforce. Four distinct, age-based cohorts exist in the workplace, each with its own values, attitudes, expectations, needs and motivations, all of which can make it challenging to manage and integrate into a corporate culture.
Currently, Generation X and Nexters make up about 45 percent of the workforce. Together, these 18-to-41 year olds equal the same percentage of the workforce as the Baby Boomers compose. The Veteran generation makes up the final 10 percent. To ensure long-term employee loyalty, enterprises need to learn about each of these generational groups, their needs and motivations. Although there is danger in generalizing, a quick review of each group’s typical traits reveals a glimpse of what individuals in each group might be looking for from an organization.
Most born before World War II, their values were shaped by the Great Depression, the New Deal, WWII, and the Korean War; and emphasize civic pride, loyalty, respect for authority, dedication, sacrifice, conformity, honour, and discipline. This generation is driven by duty before pleasure.
In the workforce, they are stable, loyal, hard-working, and employed with their company for 30 years or more. To them, work is a privilege: They respect the institution they work for and its leaders, believing that work and sacrifice pay off in the long-term. As a result, those Veterans still in the workforce seek a directive leadership style, with clearly defined goals, directions, and measurements designated by the leader.
Baby Boomers (1945-1963)
Raised in an era of extreme optimism, opportunity, and progress, their values were shaped by such events as the landing on the moon, the Peace Corps, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and the Civil Rights movement. As a group, they’ve always been determined to do better than their parents and provide their children with everything their hearts desire. Most can be counted on to go the extra mile on the job. As a result, many of them became workaholics, inventing the 60-hour workweek. They often achieve their identity through the work they perform.
The Xers came of age during the economic wars of the 1970s and 1980s. Sandwiched between the ubiquitous Baby Boomers and the privileged Nexters, they are the middle children struggling to leave their mark. Their values were shaped by such things as Watergate, the Challenger disaster, terrorism, and computers. In many cases, both their parents worked. They became known as the plugged-in children who surfed the Web, played video games, and watched MTV – with a chronic need for stimulation and instant gratification.
Since many managed themselves very effectively after school, combining schoolwork and household duties while waiting for their parents to return home from long days in the workplace, we find Xers have a huge distaste for micromanagement. They want to be told what is expected of them, provided with appropriate feedback, and empowered to get the job done. Discouraged and disheartened when they saw their parents being laid off, they want to work on their own terms and aim to have a balance between their personal and professional lives.
Nexters (1980 – 2000)
High-tech shaped the Nexters’ value systems. They are well-travelled global citizens, and a lot of them speak a second language. Many Nexters are recent graduates who grew up in households with hyper-involved parents and overscheduled lives.
Their desires were heard, and this translated into their work. In the workplace, Nexters speak out. They will walk right into the CEO’s office and let their opinions be known. Although viewed by many in the workforce as lacking a strong work ethic and having an unjustified sense of entitlement, they have a positive can-do attitude about getting the job done well and efficiently. They aim to make things happen, hate indecision, and want to move on to do the things they enjoy.
Culture of Commitment
This broad field of individuals populating the corporate world makes it a challenge to describe the “typical” workforce, let alone manage and maximize its talent assets toward higher productivity and profits. Recruiting is the first hurdler. Over the long haul, retention is the highest hurdle by far. Learning and development can provide the competitive boost that allows organizations to clear these hurdles in the race for talent and, ultimately, win employee loyalty and commitment.
To successfully build this high performance and integrate the various generations, organizations must take these key steps:
- Build and promote a learning environment conducive to attracting and retaining a cross-section of individuals.
- Establish a strategic vision for motivating, coaching, and developing diverse employees.
- Create a variety of learning and development experiences that engage and empower individuals to achieve shared business objectives.
The current workforce – particularly the younger members just beginning to chart their careers – will move on quickly if they are not being challenged, valued, and developed.
Recent studies show that across the generations, 85 percent of the workforce wants to be provided the opportunity to continually improve and grow. Though not new, the difference today is if employees are not learning and growing, they are leaving.
The current workforce – particularly the younger members just beginning to chart their careers – will move on quickly if they are not being challenged, valued, and developed. In this context, the organization must focus on applying employee engagement to the design and delivery of every initiative across the enterprise.
Boomers have been recognized for their extended work hours, their lack of separation of work and home lives, and their insatiable drive. Though similar to the Veterans, Nexters are the product of more affluent times and motivated by learning and wanting to see immediate results. They are known to assess each situation by asking themselves “Why is that important today?” Veterans love to answer these questions. Coupling these two generations to work together creates enormous payoffs.
In the work environment, Nexters want structure, guidance, and direction from their bosses, while at the same time desiring flexibility. Unlike their elders, Nexters will not be lured by promises of climbing ladders, paying dues, or cashing out at retirement. Customized training, mentoring, incentives, and responsibility are necessity for this generation.
Leadership tips for multi-generational workforces
- Communicate uniquely with each generation. Support the values of each generation and be the bridge between the different generations.
- Accommodate employee differences. Understand that each generation has a unique outlook on life that affects its commitment to work.
- Create workplace choices. Demonstrate that you understand the dedicated approach of the Veterans and the skeptical view of Xers. Provide different assignments that challenge each approach.
- Be flexible in your leadership style. Acknowledge that Veterans expect you to be the authority, while the Xers resent it. The Boomers want it, and the Nexters are polite about it. Be aware of your employees’ styles.
- Respect competence and initiative. Respect the dedication of the Veterans, the drive of the Boomers, the competence of the Xers, and the determined approach of the Nexters.
- Nourish retention. Set your primary objective as a leader to build a business community that supports the members and the business goals.
Whether born in 1950 or 1980, when people are happy at work, they are more productive and engaged in the wellbeing of the company.
Dianne Durkin, author of “The Power of Magnetic Leadership“, heads up Loyalty Factor, a consulting and training company located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She has more than 25 years of experience in training and development, finance, direct sales and international marketing.
The Self Employed - 5 Ways Leaders Can Increase Personal Magnetism
By: Dianne Durkin (Published on 02.06.2013)
People Follow Magnetic Leaders
Although others in the organization might guide and influence employees there is usually that one person in the organization that has that personal magnetism that attracts, engages, and retains people. It is that personal magnetism that motivates, inspires and energizes everyone in the organization to do their best and contribute at full capacity.
Below are five ways for leaders to increase their personal magnetism:
- Inspire people with the vision of the organization. People want to think about the future and the possibilities. If they have a window into where the organization is going they will perform beyond all expectations to reach those goals and objectives.
- Ignite people with your energy. Energy and enthusiasm are contagious. If you walk into a room energized, smiling, and invigorated, every individual in the room absorbs that energy.
- Get things down. Be seen as a leader who empowers people to get things done and asks “why not.”
- Remember people. People feel good and special when others remember them and what they have done. Come up with ways to remember people’s names, their family ties, and their interests. This can balance with a visual that reminds you of the person’s name, or a rhyme, anything that works for you to help you remember information about a particular person.
- Be candid and authentic. People like to be around leaders who “tell it like it is.” When you are confident, you can cut into the heart of the matter and be candid with people. This is what people respect. They feel included when you share what is on your mind.
Dianne is the author of the new book The Power of Magnetic Leadership: It’s Time to Get R.E.A.L. and President and Founder of Loyalty Factor – a specialized training and consulting firm that specializes in building employee loyalty, customer loyalty, and brand loyalty.
Inspiyr - Integrating into a Multigenerational Workforce: Be Ambitious and Involved
by Dianne Durkin | on March 7th, 2013 |
Generations, like people, have personalities. Although there is danger in generalizing, it is important to understand the needs, motivations and value systems of each of the generations so you can work with well with people outside of your age-group.
The Veterans born before WWII have values that were shaped by The Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II, and the Korean War. These values emphasize civic pride, loyalty, respect for authority, dedication, sacrifice, conformity, honor and discipline. This is a generation that is driven by duty before pleasure. In the workforce they are stable, loyal, hardworking and employed with their company for 30 years or more. To them, work is a privilege.
Baby Boomers (1945–1963)
Raised in an era of extreme optimism, opportunity and progress, their values were shaped by landing on the moon, the Peace Corps, the Vietnam War, Woodstock and the Civil Rights movement. As a group, they’ve always been determined to do better than their parents and provide their children with everything their hearts desire. Most can be counted on to go the extra mile on the job. The result is many of them become workaholics, inventing the 60-hour workweek. They often achieve their identity through the work they perform.
The Xers came of age during the economic wars of the 1970s and 1980s. Sandwiched between the ubiquitous Baby Boomers and the privileged Nexters, they are the middle children struggling to leave their mark. Their values were shaped by Watergate, the Challenger disaster, terrorism and computers. In many cases, both their parents worked. They would come home and plug in. They became known as the plugged in children who surfed the Web, played video games and watched MTV—with a chronic need for stimulation and instant gratification.
Since many managed themselves very effectively after school, combining school work and household duties while waiting for their parents to return home from long days, in the workplace we find Xers have a huge distaste for micromanagement. They want to be told what is expected of them, provided with appropriate feedback and empowered to get the job done. Discouraged and disheartened when they saw their parents being laid off, they want to work on their own terms and aim to have a balance between their personal and professional lives.
Nexters (1980–2000) also known as Millenniums
High-tech shaped the Nexters’ value systems. They are well-traveled, global citizens, and a lot of them speak second languages. Many Nexters are recent graduates who grew up in households with hyper-involved parents and overscheduled lives. Their desires were heard and this translated into their work. In the workplace, Nexters speak out. They will walk right into the CEO’s office and let their opinions be known. Although viewed by many in the workforce as lacking a strong work ethic and having an unjustified sense of entitlement, they have a positive, can-do attitude about getting the job done well and efficiently. They aim to make things happen, hate indecision and want to move on to do the things they enjoy.
This group of individuals is on track to be the most educated generation in American history. They are also more ethically and racially diverse than older adults, and they are known to be confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They are also history’s first “always connected” generation. Steeped in digital technology and social media they often treat their multitasking handheld gadgets like body parts. Statistics have shown that 8 in 10 sleep with their cell phone glowing by the bed.
Their entry into careers and first jobs has been set back by the recession but this does not curtail the positiveness of this generation. They tend to be much more upbeat than their elders and 9 in 10 either say, “They currently have enough money or they will eventually meet their long-term goals.”
6 Ways to Integrate into a Multi-Generational Workforce
Whether you’re just starting out in the work-world or already have a corner office, here are 6 things to keep in mind in order to integrate effectively and position yourself for success in the multi-generational workforce.
When you have a great idea and you want to share it with top management, do so with well laid out thoughts and be sure to speak with your direct manager to inform them what you have just shared with a senior member of the organization. In this way you will not be viewed as bypassing your manager and rather keeping him or her well-informed.
2. Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic
Although we all love time off and want a balanced life, when at work, it is important to contribute 150% and demonstrate the use of the incredible knowledge base you have. Express your ideas with a positive and “can do” attitude. Communication skills are critical to ensure people listen to your ideas.
3. Use Your Manners
Regardless of which generation you belong to, it’s important to be very kind, considerate and have proper manners in the workplace. “Please” and “Thank You” are magic words.
4. Questions are your Secret Weapon
Questions can unlock the gate to new and improved processes or products As opposed to using “why” questions, I suggest using, “What can we do to improve our processes, our procedures, etc. etc.?”
Ask the questions as if you are trying to clarify in your own mind the best approach to use.People need to first understand you are seeking knowledge. When they understand this, they will be more than happy to share their stories, their competence, their skills and expertise with you.
5. Use Your Energy and Passion to Develop Solutions to Major Business Issues
Passion can be very contagious. What you need to do is express it with true belief and logical thinking so that the other generations will become equally as engaged and excited. You can certainly be the change agent that is needed in most organizations.
6. Learn to Communicate
Some generations are well-connected with Facebook, Twitter, texting, e-mail, etc while others prefer old-school handshakes and face to face communication. If you’re more digitally savvy than your coworkers or boss, share your knowledge. But don’t forget that the best relationships are still made in person, away from a computer or smart phone.
People work across age-groups more now than ever. Combine your talents and knowledge with the expertise and experience of others and you will build the respect and the trust that you will need to succeed in a multigenerational workforce.