Although not an exclusive issue among young leaders, I’ve noticed a growing trend among younger professionals who make a conscious choice when reading, watching or hearing, to limit their view of information to a single moment, an emoji, or a phrase which forms a self-contained bubble. Skimming the surface, they then rush to make a judgement about it. Good, bad, right or wrong. And it becomes personal. Whoever said, wrote or did are good, bad, right or wrong. These young professionals are missing the big picture, perspective, and details. It is an incomplete view which potentially hurts their decision making, their team/department, and themselves. Does this sound familiar? Has this been impacting you, your company or team?
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?
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?
For the industries that serve as models for today’s leadership and for those companies that are heralded as bastions of good leadership, chances are there are people in executive positions who exhibit generosity. In fact, they might have been promoted because of this adjective and even hired because of it. In a company that celebrates leadership, an executive is expected to encourage, train and develop individuals in their team to become stronger leaders. You may find it in their job description. There’s the understanding that their team members are the succession plan for the company in the near future.
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.
You may have found it amusing before that Millennials and Gen Z’s co-workers, friends, relatives or your own kids spend so much time with their video games; you’re probably not laughing any more as you see yourself playing more Candy Crush, Far Cry Primal, or Words with Friends. What are you doing with your downtime (if you have any)? Can it be helping your leadership skills for the future? Yes. Here are some popular examples.
Are you showing up? Steve Jobs suggested everyone (including him) earns half of their worth simply by showing up for a scheduled event. Where do your thoughts go when you schedule a meeting, then reschedule, then reschedule once again and the rescheduling is always necessary because of the same person? Perhaps this kind of incident makes you reevaluate your own history of showing up. And, how do you hold someone accountable these days?
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…
In the virtual example and in reality, when someone feels seen, they pass their pride and joy from that memory to others they interact with during the day so the good feelings spread. So, in recognizing a team member privately or a colleague, their appreciation for that approval works to spread positive emotions among colleagues, clients and team members they work with. A great number of people are then affected by a demonstration of recognition and approval for one person. Even if you may not identify with a desire to be recognized, many people do, particularly younger professionals. And, it could make the difference between holding onto a valued team member or giving them a reason to look for a new job.