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Inspiring Generation 'WHY'

Much maligned Millenials, also known as Generation Y have inadvertently

created quite a challenge for most businesses. That is not to say that

‘one size fits all’ and of course, many people who were born between

1980 and 2000 are very comfortable with their interpersonal verbal

skills as well as very intelligent. However, depending on how much

they were able to access the technological innovations which have

dominated their lives and how immersed they have been, they may

not have developed the negotiation and conflict resolution verbal

communication skills required for the world of work.

Most jobs need staff who can talk to each other, work in teams, discuss

problems and come up with creative solutions. Many other jobs also

need staff to interact with customers, either by phone or face to face,

present the company in the best possible light, listen to what the

customer needs, handle concerns and present workable solutions that

bring the two of them closer together. If talking, as opposed to messaging

is taking your staff out of their comfort zone there is some work to be done to ‘bring them up to speed’ and provide those interpersonal skills which will transform not only their self confidence but also the results for you and job satisfaction for them.

The younger generation tend to be more questioning, or at least, have been routinely encouraged to question throughout their education. And perhaps their parents, chastened by ‘because I told you so’ when they were growing up, vowed to answer the questions which they might have felt would better inform and equip them for adulthood.

So you have a scenario building where despite many not yet being confident in their ability to handle every work encounter at ease – be it a meeting, a briefing or a difficult conversation in the office, when they DO talk, it might be to say ‘Why?’ possibly one of the most inflammatory questions known to man! And that is OUR problem, the Generation X or Baby Boomers problem, as that is how we view it. It’s not actually a bad question but raises a red flag for most people over 40 as it’s seen as challenging and perhaps undermining. So there’s work to be done to even up the verbal communication skills within the workplace and also to brush up the leadership skills to address the changing needs.

Increasingly, people are saying that they want to work for companies who have an ethical approach, that they want to do work with purpose which has impact, that they want to be proud of their company, to have fun at work and quite frankly, unlike the generations before them, earning a wage is way down the list of priorities. Whereas we would do almost anything to earn the money and status to be able to enjoy our free time, they want to enjoy it all! I don’t think this is a bad thing, why shouldn’t we all get something positive out of work every day? But it does present an opportunity to review leadership skills so that everyone is aware of the opportunities for inspiring a community culture and encouraging passion and creativity for everyone at work. It takes some lateral thinking, but it’s worth it when you see the results.

More on these verbal communication issues and solutions here

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