Leaders should never say…

In my practice, I coach senior management on alternative approaches for better communication with their employees. Much of the frustration from both managers and employees is centered around the way they communicate with each other.  For example, when an employee shares an idea they have with their manager, the last thing he/she wants to hear is “be patient” because what he/she hears is, “This isn’t going to happen for a long time.”  So a better approach would be to ask them to develop a plan to make it happen. Then the manager can assist in refining the idea while taking small steps for implementation.

Another phrase employees do not want to hear is “you aren’t ready.” All they hear is “I don’t believe in you, yet.” It’s best to figure out how to get them a portion of the experience they are requesting while you or a member of your team can act as a silent shadow. Again, small steps give encouragement.

Sometimes I hear leaders referring to “when I was coming up” or “that’s not how it was…” These young emerging leaders don’t want to talk about yesterday’s hardships, they want to talk about tomorrow’s possibilities! Instead make it personal by sharing “What I have learned that works well is…”

This last phrase I hear all the time and it couldn’t be more false, “He must not be working because he isn’t here.” It is a fallacy that people are productive contributors just because they are physically in the office. A Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, states that remote workers logged more hours than their office counterparts and were more engaged. I encourage my client’s to hire self-motivated and empowered employees for flexible work arrangements because I know that if an employee can balance work and home responsibilities, he/she will be highly successful in both areas. I personally am more efficient and effective in a flexible workplace. All the consultants I know and use on a regular basis are far more effective in less hours than their former employee counterpart.

Generation Z – different motivation from Millennials

For any business to be successful, it has to understand the motivations behind it’s employees. We all don’t come from the same mold. “Millennials were raised during prosperous times but Gen Z was largely raised during a global recession and the painfully slow recovery following.” says Ken Tysiac, editor of the Journal of Accountancy, August 2017 edition. Gen Z membes are born from 1995 to 2012. So, while millennials entered the workplace looking for “meaning” in a job, Gen Z members are focusing on salary as their most important factor.  Since Gen Z members spent their lives connected to news and social media 24 hours a day, they have a fear of missing out on things relating to their career paths. They want many different experiences at the same time, so they want to explore multiple roles at the same time. What’s more interesting is that Gen Z prefer communicating face to face but in quick sound bites.  I found some tips to keep these employees engaged:

  1.  Give them meaningful work – they want to have a positive effect on the organization
  2. Effective management – they want clear and achievable goals, effective coaching and useful feedback.
  3. Positive Work Environment – they seek flexible work arrangements, diverse workforce and recognition
  4. Growth opportunity – they look for training, support and continual learning culture
  5. Trust in leadership – they want to believe that leadership will help the organization achieve the mission, be transparent and honest.