For many generations in the U.S., showing up and being reliable has been an accepted practice of demonstrating respect for others. And it’s been a desirable quality to be the person that people can rely on. Yet, like so many things you may be questioning after the last few years, is this still relevant or have today’s influencers changed acceptable behavior? You can probably acknowledge norms and manners have been changing socially and professionally. So, even though Bruno Mars may have sung about this, do you question if younger professionals (who because of their numbers set the trends and standards) still care about being reliable?
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.
Some people are saying in our present time, we have no universal role models that reach across generations, interests, and backgrounds. And who of that category would also represent values for today’s Gen Y and Gen Z’s? There is one man I can think of whose face appears in front of a number of different audiences, media outlets and subjects – Michael Strahan. Here’s why…
There’s great reason to appreciate the child in all of us, and not just at the holidays. While we may be struggling with that notion because of how difficult life can be, even the exercise of trying to see from an inner innocence is a good thing. The joy, wonder, and the awe. That inner innocence can be a wonderful tool for our professional and personal lives. And, it’s becoming a trend.
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.
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.
Working with people from different backgrounds, histories, experiences and ages, I promote communication, conversation and connection. When I hear, “those Millennials” or “Okay, Boomer”, I cringe recognizing them as the biases they are: ageism. Whether ageism is used as a bias in rewarding/punishing or communicating, it’s not helpful to anybody and only creates friction, more bad behavior and animosity within your team and your organization. There is no us versus them, there is only us.
In a team sport, the adrenaline flows fast and easy because there’s a shared natural purpose to want to win. Faced with a survival type of situation whether real or fabricated like in scouts, outward bound, etc. everyone wants to get out of a tough unfamiliar environment. Grouped together in a “Escape Room” people strive to solve the puzzle and escape. Work or volunteer situations, the natural motivation for a closely knit group is not as obvious. Is it realistic to expect group members at work or with unpaid work to be enthusiastic and want to work together?
Everyone has their “safe zone”. Millennials have tighter zones than other generations for many reasons. If you allow the young talent in your projects, staff and organization to stretch beyond that space, you’ll be rewarded by their increased participation, productivity and personal growth.