Young professionals look for respect from their employers. From their boss, peers and company. Unlike prior generations, Millennials and Gen Z’s are vocal about asking for respect simply for being them, a unique individual who works at the same company. Respect having nothing to do with their seniority, experience or earning it. And, they will easily leave a position if they don’t see it being demonstrated, even if there is no job offer to escape to. Does that mean they show respect openly and easily to others they work with and their employer?
Who has been particularly giving to you? Consider all the people through the pandemic who have been there to offer advice, compassion, and introductions toward bringing you additional recognition and possibly even business. In some way they’ve contributed to making you better. How are you about asking for and receiving their support?
We’re all trying to find the right balance personally and professionally through this pandemic, and we’ll keep at it because sometimes we’re successful even if it’s fleeting. If you are a leader, consider the welfare of your young talent, providing them with the resources they need from their perspective is a win-win for everyone. People benefit from being thought of holistically and not just professional roles or titles. And you do, too. Find your right balance for work and life, mix or combo.
When you are a seasoned leader, how do you know when the time is right to step aside, or to continue to lead and also spread the light among younger leaders? There are two sides to consider: ideas and passion bubbling up from those ready to spread their enthusiasm who haven’t yet been given the opportunity; and, the depth of your own continuing enthusiasm, interest and dedication. Beyond the two sides, it’s also of value to think of your audience – who they are.
Doesn’t it feel sometimes, particularly during uncertainty, that you’re supposed to know all the answers and be in control of everything? Other people are counting on you. They’re looking at you for leadership and strength. And, one of the best ways you can be that strong leader is to admit three things. The willingness to speak these truths make for a leader that young professionals respect and look up to as a role model. Three responses that a lot of people have a hard time delivering. “No”, “I don’t know”, and “I’m sorry.” On the surface “no,” can seem harsh. Saying, “I don’t know,” and “I’m sorry,” might appear weak. These perceptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Because the truth is powerful.
Is building a strong network important for you? Or is it only for those other people? Years ago, I attended a panel and drinks for Williams College alums in New York City, where I live. A graduate, who is a friend, invited me. The panel was on Millennials who had made it in the media world. One of the strategic development executives on the panel said that he rose in the ranks at the large agency he called home, not because he was better qualified or had a better resume, but because of his network and his determination to building strong connections. He was known for being a master networker. If anyone needed anything, he could find it.
As a leader, have you ever considered the value of surrounding yourself with wisdom? It’s smart for your career and particularly now when nothing is stagnant. Additionally, resources and contacts go beyond your career. It also means ways to get medical help or advice, transit and auto information, residential guidance, help with family, spiritual instruction and financial assistance. It’s wise to have an axis of influence, a community you can count on to come through.
These two things, unprecedented challenges along with newly created or recreated jobs make the argument for Millennials who switch jobs and companies to gather different experience. What they are seeking is growth, learning and expanding their skill-set. Another benefit for the young professional, however, this also broadens the available work opportunities. Even if you are a seasoned professional, if you are open-minded, receptive to new opportunities, and willing to work hard, you can join Millennials in their desire for broad training and application. Why?
How can you be consistently authentic and true to your values? One of the things I admire so much about Millennials and Gen Z’s is their devotion to fairness and inclusion. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy working with them. According to Inc. Magazine Winter 2018/2019, a survey done by MUSE of Millennial bosses, their top priorities are humanist in nature. They include “creating positive work cultures, forging strong relationships in person and caring for the whole person, not just the worker.” Do these translate to non-work or personal life situations? If you are being genuine when you speak of those beliefs and those are truly your heartfelt standards for living, they would.
What are the key qualities of a great mentor? Berry Gordy is one. With the young leaders and the leaders who work with me and want to grow, I apply a Berry Gordy similar mix of ingredients: listening, encouraging, asking questions with compassion to arrive at the right strategies and plans specifically for them. I’ve had many mentors over the years and I learned the ones that worked with me the best understood my goals, personality and habits. Of course, I was ready to do the work and open to suggestions and change. You have to be open to change to achieve better results. Gordy’s team of employees at Motown were open to learning or they left the organization because they didn’t fit the culture.
Are you ready to work with a mentor or coach?
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