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Posts Tagged ‘generations at work’

Communication is at the Core of Effective Leadership

March 04th, 2014

Hi All,

One of the main points I heavily emphasize in my Personal Branding workshops for employees and Managers, regardless of what generation they’re from or level they’re at in their career, is this: It isn’t possible to become a great leader without being an effective communicator. In fact, effective communication is a key component of success in the professional world, whether it is at the organizational, intra-group, inter-group, or interpersonal level.

And when I say “leader”, I’m referring to ANY level you’re at or role you’re in now. Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Gen X, and Boomers need to be in a “leadership mindset” at work and conduct themselves accordingly!

The best quality of an effective leader is the strategic way they communicate with other employees, translating key business goals into terms that help the latter identify ‘what’s in it for me, thus motivating them to align their actions toward the success of their organization. It’s part of a leader’s job responsibility to communicate effectively what the employees want and need to know.

Effective communication also includes a greater sense of contextual and situational awareness…which many people aren’t good at, and is why I believe companies need to provide more training on communication! That said, let’s look at some tips…

Communication Secrets of Effective Leaders

Great Listeners

Great communicators believe in two-way communication. They understand that simply broadcasting their message won’t have the same effect as engaging in a meaningful conversation. They are good listeners while being astute in observations, possessing the ability to adapt their responses to the environment and situation without missing a beat.

Great Contributors

Effective communicators are adept at transferring ideas and spreading their vision. Their words inspire action and align expectations, focusing more on contributing than receiving. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it pays off in the longer run. In fact, a leader that focuses more on leave-behind than the take-aways is more likely to learn deeper than they ever would by concentrating only on their agenda.

Clear Communicators

One of the best qualities of an effective leader is that they communicate with clarity, focusing on being simple and concise. Who would appreciate or understand your point of view if you remain complicated and confusing? After all, who has time to spare for trying to understand your complex language? Great leaders understand the value of clarity and brevity and know how to hit the point and cut to the chase. In order to be an effective leader, it is crucial to learn the importance of weeding out the superfluous in order to make yourself heard.

Focus on Inter-Personal Relationships

Great leaders reject the classic business theory that suggests them to stay at an arm’s length. They have a firm belief that only those prefer to stay away from others who want to remain in the dark.  No great leader wishes to receive highly sanitized versions of the reality. They believe in developing meaningful relationships with employees in order to know what’s actually on their minds. A deeper understanding of each other is necessary for organizational success, and a good leader understands this well. Don’t let your ego be the roadblock to your relationship with other employees in the organization. Be candid and empathetic toward others to turn doubt into trust and earn greater respect.

Preparedness and Contingency Planning

The best leaders are always prepared for any kind of situation. They have a contingency plan in mind for any message that seems to evoke anger or criticism. In order to be a successful leader, it is important to learn how to justify your message with reason, business logic, and knowledge in order to make a lasting impact on the listeners. Remember, communication isn’t about you, your beliefs, your opinions, or your circumstances. In fact, it’s more about understanding others concerns, and fulfilling their needs. This will help you show your empathetic side and add value to their world.

In closing, DON”T be the type of leader that you wouldn’t want to work for. And you can prevent that by working on HOW you communicate with people, both verbally and visually!

Stress at Work is the New Health Epidemic Amongst Generations

December 11th, 2013

Hi All!

Dubbed the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, stress at work is increasingly being seen as a costly issue, thus stress management is becoming one of the most important challenges for employers across the globe. And employees, from all generations, are struggling due to stress. In the U.S. alone, 3 out of 4 workers describe their work as stressful!

A few of the key factors that cause stress for employees include: Firings, cost-cutting, business readjustments, working in an uncomfortable environment, unclear supervision, trouble with the boss, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, variations in work hours, changed work conditions and office procedures, and transitioning to a different line of work.

However, work-family conflicts are increasingly common, especially with the growing issue of Baby Boomers being “caught in the middle” as The Sandwich Generation. They are now not only caring for their own Gen Y (aka: Millennial) children but also having to be caregivers for their elderly Veteran Generation parents…all while having to maintain a full-time job in the workforce!

The financial, emotional, and physical stress of this dilemma on the Boomers is staggering, and it’s going to continue to grow in severity. So employers are going to have to manage and support it…quickly.

Smart companies are addressing stress in the workplace because it makes good business sense; employee stress-related issues are costing employers around the globe a fortune. Here’s just a few fast facts (out of many on this topic) to illustrate this:

  1. According to a study in the UK, 20% of employees experience work-related distress on an average day, which amounts to 40% of sick days.
  2. On average, American businesses suffer annual losses worth $300 billion, with each employee contributing $2,000 to the losses, in lower productivity, absenteeism, staff turnover, medical insurance, workers compensation, among other stress-related expenses.
  3. 60% of lost workdays each year are attributed to stress.
  4. Only 29% of employees are able to operate at peak productivity levels due to stress.

Based on those stats, it is crucial for employers to take earnest steps to deal with the problem and help employees cope with occupational stress.

Organizations looking to compete in a volatile marketplace are proactively making efforts to address the issue seriously. Examples include:

  • Analyzing the situation to find the root cause of the workforce stress and developing solutions to reduce the issue, such as: educating employees on work life balance, offering telecommuting opportunities, and providing flexible work weeks.
  • Leveraging employee assistance programs, which may include individual counseling, interpersonal skill development, team building, and organizational consulting on change management.
  • Encouraging employees to take responsibility for their health and motivating and supporting them to do so.
  • Requiring staff to do self-assessments in order to find out how they are feeling and asking them to identify factors they think might be contributing to pressure or stress. By getting feedback from staff and responding with a customized plan for each person can be very effective.
  • Taking steps to improve the company’s marketing approach to raise managers’ awareness of the employee benefit programs, such as: online wellness workshops, employee assistance programs, online seminars on issues of workplace stress, and mindfulness training.
  • Communicating regularly with employees to reduce uncertainty in their minds about job security. An employer, and its Leadership and Management Team, should ensure that communication with employees is friendly, motivating, and supportive, giving an equal opportunity to the latter to make themselves heard. It is the employer’s responsibility to show employees that they are valued to the organization. Rewarding workers is a good way to recognize their performance and reinforces their sense of worth to the company.
  • Reducing environmental stress, such as uplifting the workplace by improving air flow, natural lighting, reducing noise pollution, and providing quiet rooms for rejuvenation, can also help improve employee focus and attention, thus reducing their occupational stress.

By focusing on individual stress management and organizational change, businesses can produce more productive, healthier, happier, and motivated employees. But employers have to make it a priority and foster a corporate culture that truly embraces health and wellness in their workplace…not just “say” they do!

Strategies for Selling to Different Generations

September 17th, 2013

Hi All!

Here’s a quote I share with many of my audiences: “Generationally determined lifestyles & social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do – maybe even more.” – From Rocking the Ages by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D. and Ann Clurman

So when I knew Cam Marston, a Generations Expert and someone whom I know professionally, had released his new book written for sales professionals, I couldn’t wait to get a copy. It’s entitled, Generational Selling Tactics that Work: Quick and Dirty Secrets for Selling to Any Age Group.

His writing style is similar to mine, which means that if you like business books that are loaded with quick hit, useful info, and not filled with fluff, you’ll enjoy his!

Here’s a general overview about Cam’s new book that’s now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions:

All your customers like the same type of service, right? And all your products should be sold the same way to all prospects, right? And the reasons you like your product and service are the same reasons your buyers should like it, right? Wrong!

What your sales team doesn’t know about Gen Xers, Boomers, Matures, and Millennials impacts the bottom line. Each generation’s differing values creates differing expectations for what makes a quality sales or service experience. In Generational Selling Tactics that Work: Quick and Dirty Secrets for Selling to Any Age Group, thought leader Cam Marston reveals the four generations’ sales and services biases and provides simple, easy-to-execute ideas for reaching each.

Highly energetic and engaging to read, “Generational Selling Tactics that Work” is full of immediately actionable ideas for each generation so you can sell confidently and deliver superb service to each of these unique demographics.

So if you’re in sales, or manage a Sales Team, you’ll want to make Cam’s book part of your sales training!

Six Popular and Helpful Apps for Baby Boomers

April 23rd, 2013

Hi All!

I have a ritual before getting on a morning flight…I buy an Orange-Orange Vitamin Water and a USA Today. It has become a superstitious-based ritual for me now so I never miss doing it. But that’s not the point of this post.

On a recent morning flight after the doors closed and electronic devices were asked to be turned off, I began to read my USA Today and came across an interesting article I wanted to share with you.

It was entitled, “Golden Apps for a Golden Age”, written by Lynn Allison. She shared ten apps, many of which are free, that were created for Boomers and/or that Boomers find helpful.

Here are six that I wanted to pass along. You can research them to get all the details; I’m just giving you the quick descriptions to get the gist of each:

  1. EyeReader: This is an app for the iPhone that magnifies text and offers extra light making your screen easier to read.
  2. Grocery IQ: This free app enables you to create a budget-focused shopping list by scanning the bar code on any product.
  3. Lumosity: Tons of brain teaser games to improve cognitive function.
  4. Kahnoodle: This was created to help improve your love life by offering cute and clever tips to couples who need to spice things up a bit.
  5. MyFitnessPal: A very hot app that helps users take control of their weight loss and fitness plans.
  6. Find My Car: Using your phone’s GPS, this app enables you to find your car, take notes and pictures of where you parked it, etc.

And for any of you Gen X or Gen Y readers out there, be sure to share this info with your parents or the “older” generations at work. They’ll thank you for it!

Bye for now…

Lisa

Challenges That Faculty Face with Today’s College Students

January 13th, 2013

Hi All!

I’ve been researching today’s College Students a lot recently due to a few key factors:

1. I know a lot of College Professors and Faculty from a wide variety of educational institutions who constantly complain about “how different” their students are these days versus previous generations. I even hear from younger professors, in their early-mid 30’s, who express this opinion, too, so it’s not JUST coming from Boomer and Veteran generation faculty who have been teaching for 25+ years!

2. I’m getting a lot of speaking invitations from educational institutions (i.e. colleges, universities, and vocational schools) to speak to their faculty about how to better communicate with, and educate, their students. I wouldn’t be getting these invitations if this issue wasn’t “real”.

And I can tell you that regardless of the “type” of school they are from, OR the types of subjects they are teaching, OR the student population they serve, the educators I talk to all share the same frustrations and challenges with the students they teach today.

Here are just a few examples of the common ones I hear (and what I focus on in my presentations to help the educators overcome): Students today are lazy; they need to be told “how” to learn; they show up late for class and want to leave early; they show disregard for homework deadlines and exam dates; their parents call on behalf of their adult child with questions or complaints; Etc…

It’s based on this growing “issue” regarding Millennial (aka: Gen Y) students that I decided to blog about this topic today. I don’t plan to provide answers to the challenges mentioned above in this post; I’m simply bringing this interesting issue to light because I typically write about Millennials from an “employee” angle versus a student angle.

To shed more light on this, I recommend that you read this book: “Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student,” written by Dr. Arthur Levine with Diane R. Dean. It covers 2006 to 2011, and distills information from surveys and interviews with both undergraduates and student-affairs officials at 31 campuses nationwide. Dr. Levine is the president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Teachers College at Columbia University.

Here’s a brief overview about the book and the information it provides:

An understanding of today’s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s colleges and universities. As Generation on a Tightrope clearly reveals, today’s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them: an education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide. Examining college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, this book paints an accurate portrait of today’s students. Timely and comprehensive, this volume offers educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and employers, guidance and a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates. The book:

  • Is based on completely new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 diverse college campuses
  • Explores the similarities and differences between today’s generation of students and previous generations

So whether you’re an educator or an employer, books such as that could be one more tool to help you better understand this new generation you face. And for employers, this could also give you insights for better managing, recruiting and retaining this much-needed generation at work.

I can honestly say they truly are different from previous generations…I’ve been writing, consulting and speaking about Millennials for over 6 years as an expert, as well as conducting Leadership and Personal Branding workshops for Millennial employees and students, so I know them well.

Bye for now!

Lisa

 

 

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