This is the first part of a two-part series. Next time: how to find leaders worth following.
It’s a simple question, but perhaps not an easy answer – what are the signs of a leader, as opposed to just a “boss”? Are you just someone people report to? It’s different to head up a team on an organisational chart, to put in performance reviews and assign work to people. Yes, you’re the boss.
Anyone who saw an episode of Mad Men had to notice the Sterling Cooper Agency workday hours. Sure, there were occasional late nights where Peggy and other junior copywriters spun their wheels all night trying to find a witty way to sell cola or toilet paper. But really, most days Don Draper was headed home before sunset. Fast-forward to the era when the show was filmed, not set, and putting boundaries around your workday feels as doable as the three-martini lunch.
Putting boundaries around your workday is vital. No, really.
Happy new year!
People have different opinions about New Year resolutions. Some people seem to downright relish the idea of assessing where they are at the beginning of a new calendar year and setting out goals to improve themselves. Others emphatically embrace the idea that the best way not to fail to keep a resolution is to not make one in the first place. I think many of us are somewhere in the middle. But even if you are in the no resolution camp, I think we all benefit from thinking about our professional legacy.
I really don’t like sounding preachy. So I wasn’t even going to post anything like this. But the truth is, missteps in holiday party etiquette at the office find their way to my desk every year. Every. Year. For 25 years. So…I decided I’d just give you a few ideas about how not to become a Christmas tale. Consider it my gift to you. You might wish you could exchange it for something more fun. I understand.
How to keep your holiday party etiquette at the office festive not foolish:
It’s been well documented that Millennials and Gen Z employees emphasize different, and often additional, employment benefits. And it’s not just a wish, they talk with their feet — this is a group with less employer loyalty than any generation before them. So everyone now is dealing with new and different popular benefits such as tuition reimbursement, parental leave and a dozen other things. But that doesn’t come for free. What it does do is set up opportunities to track benefits as recruiting and retention savings. It’s not a stretch given the significant connection between Millennial employee
A few years ago we were having a debate at the office about how to approach problems. That’s a wide statement, of course. But the conversation was not about how to solve any issue in particular. The discussion focused more on a certain template to our processes, and how that presupposed other things. How we identify problems, whom we assign the resolution to and why we choose one person over another. Like so many things, these decisions are partly determined by our generational perspective. But generations solve problems differently. So do older decision makers need an overall reset?
Millennials have changed the workforce in countless ways. That’s not all bad, of course, and Gen X leaders should embrace Millennial corporate values (some of them, anyway). Millennials have changed the face of companies, literally, with more diverse employees. They’ve changed employee expectations, with more emphasis on things they care about, like CSR efforts and a voice in their career. And they generally have questioned – even rejected — many of the professional norms (read: restraints) around dress codes, organization charts and communication style.
Here are three ways that Gen X leaders should embrace Millennial
As we discussed in an earlier post on Millennial recruiting, 85% of Millennials in the US said they wanted their company to provide CSR opportunities for them, and 64% said they will not work for a company that doesn’t, according to this study. Companies are quickly shifting how they invest in CSR as a necessary part of business. That’s driven by Millennial prioritisation of employee and consumer decision-making. But it might be Gen X who make CSR relevant to the business model, financially, and not just ideologically. They have the track record, and moment-in-time advantages
Today, the Gen X executive in the digital era faces a lot of challenges, many of which were literally unimaginable when they entered the workforce in the early 1990s. The pressure to manage the ever-expanding suite of social media platforms can itself be overwhelming. But, as daunting as it is, I reassure many who I coach by offering the following perspective. In 1991, I went to Budapest to teach MBA students, senior managers and executive leaders at the first Western business school in what was then Eastern Europe. I worked with leaders from many different countries. The Cold
Generation X executives may struggle more with first-time management challenges than any generation before them. Baby Boomers have also wrestled with the needs of an intergenerational workforce, globalisation of the economy and the digital era. But understanding the needs of a global workforce have become increasingly complex. To recruit and retain a more diverse and more distributed workforce requires understanding and meeting a vaster range of employment preferences of current and potential employees. It can impact decisions from traditional benefits to office arrangements.
Why understanding the
needs of a global workforce is