Monthly Archives: February 2014

Inspiration for the week

What we celebrate, we will receive more of.

So what are you celebrating? What are you not celebrating enough? What do you want more of?

 

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You CAN’T be anything you want to be

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If you’re a fellow millennial, this subject probably just offended you incredibly…and there’s a definite reason why.

I’ve been studying up on the different generations of workforce. Honestly, I’m fascinated and blown away. I could write an entirely new blog on all that I’m learning but put easily, as influenced by Brad Karsh’s book “Manager 3.0”:

Baby Boomers – born 1946-64 – idealistic, competitive, smart, collaborative – if they were in a fight at school, they’d be grounded and held responsible.

Generation X – born 1965-1980 – independent, creative, fighters – if they were in a fight at school, they’d train and learn to improve so that they could win the fight next time.

Millennials – born 1981-2000 – endless potential – if they were in a fight at school, there would be a conversation about the school not being a good fit, a teacher not doing their part to foster better communication methods, etc…

Karsh makes some awesome points about millennials, including that they (we) were conditioned to believe in endless potential and a huge sense of idealism. I can remember growing up and hearing over and over again that I could do anything. Heck, I got trophies just for signing up and showing up in every sport league I was in – even if I was awful. Because of this, my dream career changed on a monthly basis. What’s funny is that I’m now 32 and still battle this conditioned response. I find that I have to remind myself regularly that I’m actually 32 and not 14; I won’t be a professional athlete when I grow up or a this or that… but I am grown up now. There’s been such a focus on what will happen someday instead of what actually is happening – the real now. Potential starts to shrink over time and its just a law of nature. It doesn’t mean I have to be unhappy about that – I’m actually really happy in my current job – but it does mean that I need to begin to look at things through a long-haul perspective.

Karsh also includes an awesome chart in his book that rings very very true to me and likely many other millenials:

Assets of employing a millennial – they’re goal-oriented, have positive attitudes, tech savvy, collaborative

Liabilities of employing a millenial – distaste for menial work, lack skills for dealing with difficult people, lack of experience, and confidence extends beyond ability

As a futurist, I have to wonder what will the next generation of workers be like? Are we still conditioning an “endless potential” mindset? Are we still sheltering our kids, over-emphasizing the cerebralness of learning, and over-stressing team-based learning? Or has the pendulum begun to swing the other way, towards the Gen X side of things where individualism is again being stressed?

This is a very interesting time to be alive and I’m genuinely excited to be a part of shaping tomorrow’s workers.

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Learning to not overprotect my leaders

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I pride myself on my commitment level and ability to maximize and develop leaders. In every management role I’ve ever held, I’ve played a large hand in ensuring the development of multiple future leaders. Additionally, I care deeply about each and every one of my employees and peers. A linkedin article that I read this morning brought to light a question I haven’t really focused on recently: How often should I share the stress and heavy burdens of the business with my employees?

As a person who has been in leadership for awhile, I have grown into a style where I like to take any stress and big opportunities from above me and translate them into results and specific tasks/objectives for my employees. I try not to pass along anything incredibly overwhelming, as I want to allow my employees to focus on a few things as much as they can and to not feel any aforementioned stress. I can remember working at a job where a superior told me point blank “you need to do this…or I won’t have a job come tomorrow.” I absolutely do not ever want to pass any stress or attitude like that to my team.

However, this linkedin article has got me questioning if I do that too much. Bernard Marr suggests three steps that strong employees can/should take when it comes to responding to big challenges being passed along (or “bad news” as he calls it):

1. They work on the way they personally react to bad news and make a conscious effort to react positively.

2. They create an environment where bad news is welcome. They often create an environment where the consequences for not telling bad news far outweigh the potential consequences of telling bad news.

3. They make sure to celebrate turnaround stories, where…the right actions were taken straight away to contain or eliminate the problem. Sharing these stories will help to create the right environment and will send out the signals that it is not only important to share bad news, but that the reactions and consequences are positive.

So I’m asking my fellow leaders out there: what do you do for your employees? Is it a good idea to pass along more of these “bad news” challenges to your staff and inherently demonstrate that trust and confidence in them? Or is it more beneficial to absorb a lot of that ourselves and keep our team “safe” from some of the huge things that can fall on our shoulders, especially when many of these employees may be looking for part time responsibilities in their part time jobs?

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