“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” ~ Deborah Day. The lovely sweetness to come out of this moment’s uncertainty is awareness. Awareness beyond our own circumstances. During times like this, you are called to step into your role of supporting. I invite you to think – how can I support my circle of people? How can I make a difference? And how can I do it that will also have the lingering benefit of warmth within me?
“Building people up” (being supportive and offering knowledge) is how people are able to reach their potential. Everyone needs the caring, focus, and teaching during those times of self-doubt, loss of direction, confusion or inexperience, we all have. Support and education are essential for you to fully blossom. Have you experienced training that was helpful to your work and maybe even the way you view the world? Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, used training skillfully within the Motown organization. He knew how to balance rules with growth offering people freedom to change and develop, grooming them to become even better, and giving them a chance to be heard.
Conflicts and disagreements were quick to happen with some younger professionals I’ve worked with, not through their wanting to be rude, but in their attempts to jump to connect dots. They wanted to move quickly; on to the next thing and press ahead. In doing that, however, they weren’t realizing they were missing full conversations with people. Instead of waiting, listening and asking questions, they were making assumptions around a conversation. Wanting things to move quickly, they were cutting people off from fully expressing their views. A satisfying conversation never actually happened then. How we worked through this? And, a tip from Tom Hanks.
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.
When differentiators are obvious to people, they focus on what makes the other people different rather than what makes them similar. It happens with races, cultures, generations, sexes. Those differences in recent times are criticized. What about if they were celebrated? What if those differences were actually talents? Seasoned people have experience and wisdom. Young professionals have a long list of skills.
There’s a lot of shaming about young professionals. You can think it is coming from their Baby Boomer or Gen X bosses who have a lot more life and work experience. That would be the obvious choice. They are not the only ones, however. People born in the Millennial years undervalue themselves and their colleagues just as much as senior professionals. Why? How do you stop this from continuing?
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?
It’s worth it to make an effort to learn about and appreciate each person you work with. You want the best for and from them, and they will only show you that best if they know someone cares enough to see it. Furthermore, their dedication and engagement in work comes from being happy and being seen as full individuals. You could be responsible for the individuals on your team being encouraged or discouraged. When people are dissatisfied, they leave their bosses not their jobs.
What is the cost of losing one employee? There are the direct costs of the loss and the costs of replacing that person. Here is a list of them. Why care? 3 million Americans quit their job every month. 25% of employees are at a high risk for turnover (these are your top performers). If you could keep the interest of valued employees, wouldn’t that be worthwhile?