These words set me off on a long rant about the generational stereotyping and negative profiling that permeates the workplace. The pseudo-research behind generational differences literature fails to make teams work better together as it sets one cohort against another in an “I-am-right-you-are-wrong” mentality.
Question: I’ve been a business leader for most of my career, managing staff ranging from 3 to more than 20. One thing that constantly puzzles me is employee motivation. Some folks attack their work with great gusto, others simply clock in every day and do the minimal amount to get by. What can I do to get everyone to be motivated and driven to do their best?
Alice Waagen says: Good question and one that I am asked with great frequency as I coach organizational leaders. If I could discover the magic elixir of motivation, I’d be one very rich woman. There has been much written on the subject of motivating others and the research I find most compelling focuses on some broad overarching principles while acknowledging that what motivates behavior is very much an individual set of drivers. (more…)
Question: I recently got my dream job being the Executive Director for a nonprofit whose mission is very dear to my heart. I am excited about leading an organization with such a worthy cause. My problem is that I have never managed so many young workers before. As a nonprofit, our pay scale is not the best and we tend to hire recent college grads that are looking to get experience in lieu of the big salaries of corporate jobs. Our age gap is causing me problems communicating and relating to them. I am reading books on the different generations at work. Can you give me some tips on how to lead the different generations?
Alice Waagen says: Gen X, Gen Y, Millennial, I get such heartburn when I read the blather on generational differences. Most, if not all of this stuff is little more than stereotyping a very large age cohort with a lot of negative qualities. Here is a short list of descriptors I’ve read about Millennial employees: lazy, entitled, poor communicators, web-obsessed. I’ll bet you that list was not written by a Millennial but probably by someone from an older cohort group. (more…)