James R. Schroeder, DDS, MS, FACD
Are you a business owner or manager running into difficulty with your younger employees? As I have helped numerous organizations face issues in their communities, one of the most important obstacles we have learned to overcome is cooperation with Millennials. The number of companies who haven’t yet had issues with this rising generation are dwindling. More and more managers and company owners are recognizing a lack of direct communication, finding their young employees evading of phone conversations only to send a response via text two hours later. Others realize that their younger employees see merely doing their job correctly as a laudable performance, or that their college GPAs should land them above the bottom of the totem pole in the workplace. Others find huge issues in being able to rely on this generation to focus for long periods of time, whether it be zoning out during important meetings, texting or checking social media during independent work, or overall not accomplishing their tasks in a timely manner.
So, what is a new business to do when the future workforce embodies the overall air of, “I’m great; reward me for what I am, despite the outcome”?
One of the new shifts in any business, from a large corporation down to a staff of two or three people, will have to be creating a culture within the workplace that replaces the culture the employees provide themselves. This process requires intention and leadership. When you can, confront the issues with your employees when you can talk to them face-to-face. Let them know what they’re doing right, but build on that with what is expected for success in the workplace. Finally, go ahead and take the risk to empower your employees. Give them tasks to oversee on their own, for which they are responsible. Follow up with them through the process and outcomes, offering insight and guidance. It is amazing to see the shift in performance when the results become someone’s own.
Keep in mind that intergenerational cooperation is difficult for every generation, but you can learn some amazing things from your younger staff. Stay open, and teach what you can to create an empowered, driven team, while expanding your own horizons. If you would like help in this process of development and growth, please contact me at (804) 897-5900.
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Dr. Jim Schroeder is the Founder of Leadership by Design. He has been writing about leadership and organizational growth for over 30 years.
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