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Leadership Conversation on Generational Diversity

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 @ 12:00 PM

generational speakerGen Y is the first generation to grow up with a computer in their home. It is very different world for leadership and change navigating the challenges of a multigenerational workplace. The average leaders spends 28% more time managing people than they did 30 years ago.

Generation experts and speakers say the Y Generation will change jobs 10 times before they turn 38 and 50% of these jobs have not even been created yet.

Strong Sense of Entitlement- Being an inspiration for the independent, tech savvy Generation Y can make any leader want to pull their hair out.  Gen Y have higher expectations than other more traditional generations. Their parents, the boomers are the most affluent generation and x and especially Y Generation has had everything handed to them. They come to the job with a strong expectation of entitlement.

Honoring and respecting their elders is not a priority. Job titles, time on the job and prior accomplishments just dont hold the same respect for this generation. Younger generations must learn to respect that elder generations have a stronger identity with their career and work. Older generations have more patients and tolerance for work processes

Do not cater to generation Y, just understand them and try to communicate in their language. People evolve over time and with the proper feedback, coaching and follow up this savvy generation will be your most effective.

I was the opening keynote motivational speaker for a landscape/ Horticultural Association. Landscape professionals hire alot of young adults, which they say are very savvy with technology but not reliable to show up to work on time. When I am a speaker for parks and recreation professionals, they say the same thing. Industries that attract younger professionals both struggle and see great opportunity with Generation Y and Z.

Electronically Wired- x and y Generation carries their devices everywhere. It is difficult to inspire Gen Y to tune out all the noise. If you really want them to read something, break it down into little chunks and send it via text message, Face Book etc. As a generational speaker i find Motivational speeches to this generation are effective if they are fast paced, funny and speak their language

  • Send schedule requests via text message
  • Companies that are cool, communicate with their employees with Social networks. Setting up a facebook page for your company and handing it over to a Generation Y to manage may be the best way to engage this generation. Make sure you have guidelines what can be posted, what is appropriate etc.

Gen Y trains you to communicate with them. I have a 20 year old friend who will not respond to my emails, yet if i send the same message via facebook, I know she will respond. Show Gen Y how you expect them to communicate. For all the time they spend behind their devices, straight forward face to face communication is still the preferred way to communicate with customers.

Explore the deeper meaning of things- I believe their is missed opportunity to have deeper conversation because of the urgency and efficiency of digital technology. Foster deeper more meaningful conversation by slowing down the thought- communicate process. Face to face group huddles present meaningful dialogue with limited distraction. Empower a generation Y to Plan these huddles and mandate participation. Keep the conversation real. Don't dance around the issue, dig deep into conflict, values, problems and help younger generations see the connection between their actions and how it affects others.

Its not sexy but i think the most important thing younger generations need is alot more feedback, goals and consequences. They are used to getting something for nothing, therefore they need to connect performance and feedback to consequences and rewards.

Tags: leadership and change, x and y generation, generational speaker, motivational speaker for landscape/ Horticultural

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