Friday, 20 December 2013

Managing Three Generations in the Workplace

As leaders, managers and colleagues we all face the challenge of three different generations in the workplace (all with different needs and values). The article "Winning the Generation Game" by the Economist addresses the widely different expectations of the different generations now found in the workplace. So who are these generations and what characteristics do they typically have:  

Baby Boomers
Gen X
Gen Y

-Moon Landing
-Women out to work - latch key kids

-Gulf War & 9/11
-Work together/teamworking
-Value job security
-Communicate through meetings and emails
-Technically Savvy
-Value work-life balance

-Digital Natives
-Highly connected 1000+ connections
-Communicate quickly via texting & instant messaging
-Used to hierarchical, top down, leadership
-Starting to retire
-Smaller population
-“Dead Man’s Shoes” lack of progression due to Baby Boomers
-19 year retirement period
-Why can’t we do things differently
-Go round the rules

-Keeping them engaged
-Value team working
-Resistant to change

-Fall behind or move ahead?
-Rounding off the edges more quickly
-Multi-tasks e.g. phone, 1-1, gadgets
-Seek fast progression
-Expect coaching & instant feedback
-Fun in the workplace
-See everyone as a friend
 So what does this mean for the 2020 workplace? It is anticipated that by 2020 48% of employees in the UK workplace will be "millenials". This will require a significant shift in leadership styles and approach. The out-dated form of top down leadership will no longer be effective for this mix of generations. Research has identified that the most important factor for this multi-generational mix, in terms of motivation and retention, is the working relationship they have with their line manager.
Our earlier posts of "Authentic Leadership" and "What Type of Leader Do You Want to be?" highlight the shift in leadership approach that has already started.  

Are you a leader or manager? Our future blog posts will explore how best to manage this mix of 3 generations in the workplace. In the meantime you might want to try the 14 point Quiz from the Pew Research Centre "How Millenial Are you?"


Friday, 22 November 2013

Unlock Your Personal Career Strategy

Struggling with how to formulate your personal career strategy? Here are some ideas.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

What's Your Preferred #LearningStyle?

What are Learning Styles and why are they important?

Identifying your learning style is helpful in solving business problems as it identifies the natural approach you prefer to use. It is also helpful in diverse teams as everyone is different - it provides an understanding of how your colleagues prefer to learn.

Understanding learning styles fits with other career management themes of leadership, communication, conflict management and managing your brand - all posts we have been exploring on this blog. 

Learning Styles link to other career management strategies

Kolb identified a natural learning cycle that everyone goes through. He focused on how we first experience learning and then expand upon it to define our new experiences.

Honey and Mumford, using the work of Kolb, devised 4 distinct learning styles. They identified that we may exhibit a blend of styles but that generally we have a preferred learning style. 

Why is this important?

1) It might sound obvious but learning styles are helpful in identifying how you prefer to learn. For example it might not be the best solution to attend a long theory based course (although sometimes there is no option) if all you want to do is jump straight in or simply understand how something actually works in practice. 

 2) Learning styles also provide a mechanism for identifying your natural style (and that of others) and in doing so create awareness. This enables everyone to flex their style accordingly. For example an activist could annoy a reflector and vice versa. This is because an activist is hands on, they want to jump in and get started, whereas a reflector needs and wants the time to think things through. Both can find each other equally frustrating. 

3) An awareness of the learning cycle can also aid any coaching relationship. The diagram above also shows how the STAR coaching model can be overlaid. 

No one learning style is right, therefore increased awareness can only be a helpful thing in understanding and avoiding any conflict.

The Learning Styles:

  • Tend to act first and consider the implications after 
  • Jump right in, requiring little preparation time. 
  • Thrive on being thrown in at the deep end 
  • Tend not to reflect as they have moved onto the next thing by then. 
  •  In a group exercise or team building event it will be the activists that are hands on straight away. 
  • Are switched off by detail and prescriptive processes

  • Focus on the practical application, they need to know that solutions will work 
  • Like to relate back to how this fits with the job/task 
  • Get impatient with lengthy discussions 
  • Are switched off when there is no obvious benefit or lack of guidelines on what to do
  • Focus on different perspectives 
  • They thrive on collating and analysing data 
  • Like to have time to think before making decisions 
  • Are switched off by having no time to prepare, by being rushed or thrown in at the deep end
  • Think problems through step by step 
  • Are perfectionists
  • Thrive on complexity, structured thinking and business models 
  • Enjoy questioning 
  • Are switched off by situations involving emotion or lack of structure

There are lots of free self assessment tools available on the internet - which is your preferred learning style?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Maximise Your #PersonalBrand Part 2 - #CommunicationStyles

Which style do you naturally prefer? What happens to your communication style when you are under pressure?

Don't score an own goal with the wrong communication style

Communication is an important element of your personal brand, it defines who you are and how you interact with others. This post builds on our earlier blog post "Maximising Your Personal Brand Part 1 –Self Awareness".

We all have a natural or preferred communication style and this blog post explores the various communication styles, linking them to the transactional analysis ego states. Often we use a different style depending on the situation or who we are interacting with. As part of any robust career management strategy it is important to flex your communication style and not adopt a one size fits all approach. Effective communicators influence others, gaining buy-in and engagement.

Building on the earlier theme of self awareness give some thought to what happens to your communication style when you are under pressure – does it become more pronounced, change radically or alienate others?

There are lots of free self assessment tools and questionnaires available on the internet to help you determine your communication style. Which style(s) do you think you use?

Style: Assertive
Passive Aggressive
Ego State: “I’m OK You’re OK”
“You’re OK I’m not”
“I’m OK You’re not”
“You’re not OK I’m not OK”
Transactional Analysis: Adult
Controlling Parent
Rebellious Child
·  Best style
·  High self esteem
·  Genuine
·  Gains respect
·  Least used
·  Pleases others and avoids conflict
·  Low self esteem
·  Doesn’t contribute views
·  Ineffective style as causes reactions
·  Often at the expense of others
·  Low self esteem
·  Appear passive but actually subtly undermine others
·  Indirectly aggressive
·  Devious
·  Two-faced
·  Sarcastic
·  Criticises self
·  Open body language
·  Listen & don’t interrupt
·  Good eye contact
·  Avoids eye contact
·  Closed body language

·  Loud
·  Intimidating
·  Out to win
·  Sweet and innocent
·  Fake
·  Mismatch between verbal and non verbal
Builds good relationships with others
Low energy, gives in too easily, lacks confidence, can be self critical & resentful
Can upset others, and appear angry and hostile
Can remain stuck in the victim mindset, so can’t move on. Can alienate themselves from others