Friday, October 28, 2016

Practicing empathy for millennials

Few managers have been taught how to lead, explains Simon Sinek in a recent presentation on leadership.   Much depends, he observed on the corporate culture.

He went on to describe a scenario where a barista held down two jobs.  In one, where he demonstrated great customer service, the managers took a personal interest in him as an individual, checking in that all was OK, helping him out on personal challenges.

He rewarded them with his loyalty and would go that extra mile for them.  However, in his second job, the focus of the manager was to find fault and attempt to “catch” him out, as a result, his attitude was very different.

The difference was empathy which he went on to say, is what we need to show to millennials.  He then went on to explain why.

1.             Parenting
Millennials have grown up being told they can have and be anything they want.  Raised by helicopter parents who have gone to bat for them, it’s a shock when they reach the workplace and that doesn’t work any more.

2.             Technology
With the constant use of social media and technology, people, especially young people, have become addicted to their devices and as a result are not learning the necessary social skills to develop deep relationships.   Everything is measured by how many likes you get, how many friends you have on Facebook.  These false measurements of success, have sadly led to an increase in depression and even suicide.

3.             Impatient
Sinek observes that it’s not so much that this generation feels entitled, it’s more he says that they are impatient.   Success isn’t often instant as we know, but this is a generation used to instant gratification which they apply to life, relationships and work.  They have not realized that it is a journey and so fear that they are not making an impact, something that is all important to them.

4.             Environment
When working for large corporations they find that the organizations don’t care about them as human beings.   Mass layoffs occur without much thought to the fact that the companies are taking away people’s livelihoods to make and save money.

All food for thought.  Especially for those in leadership or management positions.

Personally I like working with young people.  They are so bright, and when you involve and invite them to be part of a project, bring great ideas.   Showing empathy, fostering community goes a long way to creating a positive work environment for everyone.

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