There’s been a lot of talk about the new generation (isn’t there always? Even Sokrates complained over disobeying youngsters) and especially Generation D, where D stands for Disruptive. Not to mention all changes happening to most our known structures. This generation faces an economical future that for the first time in history is worse than the one their partents met.
I for one use to claim personal differences are often bigger than generalizing So, is there anything special with this generation? Often, differences on the individual level are a lot bigger. But, if there are indeed theses differences – which are they – and yet more: How should I act if I’m a manager? (And I will conclude – what they’re asking for is at work is something we should all have asked for long ago!)
They need more attention – and have shorter attention span. Take the MTV effect. Double or triple it. We need action. Great! Let’s GO for action!
They expect more feedback – Well, great news again! We all need that, in fact human beings are juat that by mirroring in others minds and communication.
They expect kickbacks – well, that’s just great – as this is normally how it works! But what are the kickbacks, and what levels of kickbacks are achieved when and how?
So as a boss, what do y0u need to do?
SLA – Seen, listened to, acknowledged – simple actions, but you need to prepare yourself – your mind and philosophy – before the action is needed.
We all have this need, so better get prepared. It’s a great tool as it works both ways: Seeing some-one and giving feedback makes you visible as well!
Transparency by Reverse leadership style – telling people what to do is out of age. Not only will it stop people from thinking – it only opens a handy escape route as what you are telling is percieved YOUR goal, not theirs. (Of course you won’t notice as we all learned play the of the game.)
Instead: Regularly ask your employees to present goals, reasons and strategies – why we do what we’re doing et cetera. You not only get to know what is known, but also basic values, how they regard your leadership and – the way business is run.
Coach in a goal-centric way – skip discussions of “right or wrong” issues. In the age of ubiquitous search discussions about who is wrong and who is not is pointless and will only drag the both of you down and you will lose momentum. Focus on “Why?” questions and reverse goal-setting. You may rapidly hear how well goals are understood. (How can one achieve goals that aren’t clear?)
Employees of today need to know it all – from Vision and Mission via Strategy to Tactical/Operations level. The needs of generation D will benefit us all – if we’re just willing to be a little bit more open, transparent – and… demanding! I strongly believe we are now at a good point in history to re-vitalize Management and Leadership.
What do YOU think?
Do you have any similar (or completely different) experiences?
(You may answer in Swedish if that makes you feel better – I’ll provide a reasonable translation in the flow.)