Generation Schmeneration

Posted March 9, 2009 in Latest News & Insights

I just finished watching Bruce Tulgan’s latest video newsletter on the big myth’s about Generation Y, and I just don’t get all this generational hoopla.

Apparently, Gen Y are loyal… but it’s “just in time” loyalty.  Well, speaking as a Gen Xer, I  could relate to everything Tulgan was saying about Gen Y.  Was I born in the wrong decade?

Last fall, we held a PowerRoundtable on the whole “generational” discussion and then, as now, I just became increasingly convinced that this whole generation thing is very “flavour of the month-ish” (with all due respect to everyone who practices in this area).

I still teach management programs in the classroom and work with lots of managers in different organizations and, in my humble “unresearched” opinion… one of the biggest challenges we have period is the overwhelming fact that most of us have been ill-equipped in the areas of interpersonal communication.  And, most employees / managers… regardless of their generation… are really looking for better communication.

And frankly, it’s hardly our fault.  It’s not like interpersonal skills and relationship skills are overemphasized in the school system.  Here’s a novel idea…maybe if we spent more time in school (from JK up) emphasizing our social skills versus our thinking and analytical skills, we’d all be better prepared for working together.

Okay, I have to get down off  my soap box now before I break my ankle.

Looking at generational differences is interesting, but as a colleague of mine said to me… we’re 96% the same, but what we focus on is the 4% that we’re different.

As leaders, where are you focussing?  On the differences between the people on your team  or the similarities?  If generational differences are causing your group “unrest”, maybe you should try taking a page out of “win-win” negotiations 101… start with where you have common goals.  Sure, generations may communicate their needs differently, but at the end of the day, dont’ we all want to feel valued at work?

Happy leading!

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