Mar 132022
 

The Place Light Gets In is a collection of memoirs now available on Amazon. While it may not be a study in generational differences, it has stories written by a group of individuals from different generations reflecting on our pasts and many of the stories that went into developing our collective values.

A group of dedicated writers discovered a sacred space at Holy Innocents’ for sharing their memories and personal histories, a place filled with light during these uncertain times.

When we set out on the path to share our memoirs from this eight years and eight members strong writer’s group, no one knew we would end up with exactly 40 selected stories between us. A Lenten launch seems appropriate! As the Reverend Martha Sterne says about the craft of memoir writing in her introduction, “Believe me. You are the keeper of treasures.”

The memoirs are as varied as the members of the group. We have stories for everyone: about love and war, art and the environment, experiences and faith, life journeys, struggles, and triumphs that span nearly a century.

All proceeds from the sales of the books will be donated to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church where we meet weekly to share our life experiences and have received spiritual support to continue our writing journeys.

Instructors Carolyn Fore and Sally Parsonson and members, Beverly Baker, Tony Clarke, Stefan Fatzinger, Christy Knight, Jeannie Longley, and Janet Wilson welcome you into our world of words.

The book is available on Amazon for $18.00.

More information about the book can also be found at https://www.fieldandstudio.com/theplacelightgetsin/

If you are looking for more information about generational leadership differences, be sure to check out my book Millennials Taking the Lead on Amazon.

I would also like to recommend a great blog by Tim Elmore incorporating Generation Z into the mix: How Four Generations Differ in their Approaches to Work.

 

Aug 112021
 

Millennials are considered continuous learners. Keeping in mind that looking at generational trends is not intended to be stereotyping, Millennials are likely to agree with this statement. Some reasons Millennials see themselves as continuous learners are that they recognize they don’t know it all, they are always looking for ways to learn new things, and they view learning as an opportunity or reward, not as a task or punishment. Millennials are often looking for ways to improve at whatever they are doing.

That doesn’t, however, mean that people in other generational groups don’t like to learn new things. As a Baby Boomer, I can’t help remembering that my generation started the self-improvement fad. Baby Boomers were responsible for both writing and purchasing all those self-help books of the Seventies. Those how-to books and many more of those old improve yourself books are still around. Self-help has moved into the areas of leadership development and more business-focused topics but is still in demand. Training was something Baby Boomers usually did on their own time unless the job required additional training that was provided by the company.

Generation X is known to respect knowledge and learning, perhaps in a more formal way. This generation is usually looking for the expert on a topic. Training is viewed as more of a necessity than a reward by this group, something that must be completed as a way to gain the knowledge required to get ahead at work.

The newest group to join the workforce, Generation Z, is known as the digital generation and they are most likely learning something all the time in their digital world. Like all generations, Gen Z enters the work force not knowing what it doesn’t know. But like their predecessors, the Millennials, they prefer experiential learning and realize learning is an evolutionary process. Members of this generation are more likely to want informal training in the workplace and expect to have real-time access to the information they need to know, since they have grown up in a world where they have instantaneous access to information.

When we look across all the generations in the workforce, they all have a desire to learn new things but may have very different approaches to how and when they want to learn or expect to have access to the information they need to know.

Read more in Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace https://www.amazon.com/dp/1631831526

Apr 292021
 

Millennials look for leadership that connects and collaborates.

The leadership style of Millennials fits with the emerging need of organizations to have leadership that connects, collaborates, and is driven by passion and purpose to provide the organization with a common cause.

Some of the leadership characteristics of Millennials that are having an influence on organizations are their desire to connect, collaborate, and find their passion in their work. As a group, Millennials are more connected than previous generations in the workplace. Part of this is a result of the technology advances that make it easier for them to connect more frequently, faster, and with more people than their predecessors. Another part of it is their high comfort level with working with others which leads to more collaborative decision-making and leadership.

Connecting and collaborating are important concepts in organizations today as much of the work is expected to be accomplished by teams. For teams to be in sync and develop goal-focused results, they must find ways to connect that are comfortable for the team members. With multi-generational teams, this may be challenging. The older members of the team often want to have meetings and discussions in person, while younger members are more likely to turn to technology for communicating. This could be email, texting, social media, or as we’ve all become accustomed to during the pandemic, meetings over Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.

Collaborating is something Millennials do very well since they excel at getting together and discussing what they need to accomplish, then developing a plan together. Generation X has their own way of collaborating, based more on exchanging information as they develop a plan while looking to the team experts to take the lead. Baby Boomers are consensus builders and more likely to look for consensus than collaboration. Once someone has a good idea, the team refines it to develop a plan everyone on the team supports.

A desire to find their passion and have work that has purpose are also continuing themes from Millennials that are strong enough to influence organizations and their future paths. Millennials are going to work for the companies where they feel they have a purpose and the goals of the company align with their passions, or at least where the work they are given is something they feel good about doing. More than older generations, if they don’t feel their work is meeting their personal goals, they will go somewhere else, even if it means starting their own business. As these younger leaders move into leadership roles in organizations, their influence will be felt in the overall organizational objectives.

To learn more about how Millennial leaders collaborate, read Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace https://www.amazon.com/dp/1631831526

 

Jan 192021
 

I was recently introduced to the book Nine Lies about Work1 by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall and have become a follower of Marcus Buckingham. One of the things in this book that I’ve been thinking about is the importance of building on your strength (see Lie #4 The best people are well-rounded). Instead of trying to fix what we don’t do well, we can be more effective by concentrating on what we do well. If we focus on our strengths and do what we do well even better, we are more likely to make a difference. I decided to apply this to leadership, more specifically to generational leadership characteristics. So, once again, what are those primary characteristics of leadership for each generational cohort?

Some driving forces for the leadership style of each generation are the following:

Traditionalists – Traditional; autocratic; hierarchical; directive; command and control

Baby Boomers – Democratic, participative, consensus building; collegial

Generation X – Challenging; competence; informed decision-making; laissez-faire

Millennials – Collaborative; inclusive; innovative; rely on networking and information sharing

Generation Z – Instantaneous; lack of boundaries

 

Obviously, there are some differences. If each generation focuses on what they know how to do best and are comfortable with, then does it well, they can be good leaders. This doesn’t mean they should forget that the people they are leading may prefer to be led a different way. First thinking of how you can be a good leader and then how that will be received by those you lead can be effective. Deciding your strength then adapting it to the needs of your team can lead to great results. Not all leaders should lead the same way so don’t try to mold your leadership style to what is best for someone else but not for you.

 

1Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall, Nine Lies About Work (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2019)

Sep 082020
 

This week was my first time to be featured as a guest blogger. I felt honored to be asked, especially considering the great work Ashley Freeman is doing to inspire others through Flourishing Work.

This is a great time for Millennials to step up and use the leadership traits they excel in to provide excellent leadership for their organization or cause. Four areas in which Millennials have an advantage over their older co-workers are: technology, passion, collaboration, and social consciousness. Read what I wrote about this at http://bit.ly/guest-blog-millennials  and check out what Ashley’s doing while you are there.

Jun 262019
 

I felt honored to be invited to be a guest on a podcast by two millennials who discuss millennial topics. It was a lot of fun and I hope you will check it out to hear our discussion of some interesting current topics and their thoughts on my book, Millennials Taking the Lead.

Here’s a link to the podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-215536382/episode-93-dr-carolyn-fore

Here’s a link to buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Millennials+taking+the+lead&ref=nb_sb_noss

or buy my book by clicking on Buy tab.

Carolyn

Feb 272018
 

Millennial leaders believe leaders do the right thing… for the right reasons. It seems that this age group understands “right” from “wrong” and wants to pick “right” for the right reasons. You may hear them say it is important to choose “the hard right over the easy wrong.” How is this different from previous generations?

Millennials usually see a clearer path and feel that it is easier to pick the right thing compared to people from older generations. They seem to be very aware of mistakes made by previous generations that led to bad outcomes for business. They either studied these cases in school or were impacted directly as they saw their parents lose their jobs when their companies were downsized or filed for bankruptcy. At that point, these future leaders were learning lessons on how they would not behave when they became business leaders.

But how does a leader know what the right thing is? Great leaders genuinely want to do the right thing. They are not thinking about themselves first. Instead, they are thinking about the greater good and deciding if their decisions are the right thing to do.

Feb 202018
 

Millennials learned about helping others at an early age, often through school projects focused on community service. Many Millennial leaders say they first learned their leadership skills by working on teams focused on social services or helping others. Their college applications listed community volunteer work and the accomplishments they had already achieved in their efforts to help others while making sure they were keeping up with their peers. This work of helping others continued during college as their compassion was demonstrated through their choices of summer internships and volunteerism in the local communities.

Awareness of social issues and commitment to volunteerism continue to be important values to Millennials when they are considering where they want to work and how they feel about the leaders they work with. Millennial leaders want to work for a company that has the same social responsibility values they have. Leaders in today’s organizations must recognize this community service and social awareness drive in their Millennial leaders if they want to keep them engaged and inspired in the vision of the company. Having a company social responsibility component in the mission means a lot more when part of the profits are automatically donated to a worthy cause. Another way to accomplish this can be an annual fundraiser that everyone can contribute to, either financially or through their efforts. This idea is even better if customers are involved in contributing to the efforts. One other way that Millennials can see their company and its leadership showing their concern for social responsibility is in how they allow individuals or groups to take time away from work for volunteer efforts. It can be a great show of community spirit to allow a department to participate at the food bank or in a disaster relief effort together and not make them take the time spent as vacation time.

These concerns for social responsibility are the reasons Millennials think so highly of companies that use the one for one giving model like TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, Bombas, and BetterWorldBooks, and other socially responsible companies like Zappos and Salesforce. Many of the more established companies like GE, Cisco, IBM, and Deloitte have taken notice and jumped to the top of the lists in corporate social responsibility in order to attract Millennials.

Millennials are carefully watching how their organization handles situations involving community service and social responsibility and deciding if it aligned with their values. If it is, they are more likely to be more dedicated to the company, and if it isn’t, they will soon find another place to work.

Feb 052018
 

Each generation applies fundamental characteristics of leadership in their own unique way. Trust is one of those characteristics that is noticeably different between generations. Each generation views it as an important leadership quality, they just look at it differently. The Millennial generation has a reputation for being open, self-assured, hopeful, well educated, and goal oriented. Millennials have benefited from each of the three older generations, learning allegiance and trust in organizations from Traditionalists, confidence and optimism from Baby Boomers, and a healthy dose of skepticism from Generation X. Millennials refocused the allegiance and trust in organizations they learned from Traditionalists to allegiance and trust in relationships. The confidence and optimism they learned from Baby Boomers helped Millennials turn the skepticism they learned from Generation X into an ability to look at the present more realistically than Baby Boomers, while still maintaining a positive outlook about the future.

Honesty and trust may be more important than ever in today’s world of social media and increased speed and breadth of communications. Leaders must quickly learn who they can trust in a world where messages and reputations are open to many viewers. This transparency leads to an understanding of the reasons behind a leader’s actions, which need to be for the right motivation, or the trust will be lost.

As an essential characteristic of leadership, there are three components of trust in the view of the Millennial leader:

  1. The organization’s vision should be trustworthy for all involved, i.e. for the greater good.
  2. Leadership is honest and transparent and can be trusted.
  3. Millennials are competent and can be trusted.

Millennials expect a lot of communications and feedback. Those in leadership roles want to know even more about their own performance, their team’s performance, and the company’s. Some recommendations for feedback to Millennials include:

  • Updates on the vision and goals and how it relates to their role
  • Status of their projects, including feedback on project success
  • Individual feedback, with more responsibility after action or success

Millennial leaders often value the role of a coach or other role model in encouraging them to step into a leadership role or to recognize they were viewed as a leader and to embrace it. An additional aspect of the coach as a leadership influence is the disillusionment of learning, as these Millennial leaders have become adult leaders, that not all coaches are good, honest, and trustworthy.

Learn more about Millennial leaders and their leadership style by buying my book. Available by clicking the Buy tab above.

Jan 262018
 

Millennial leaders say they are motivated by passion. You may think, what’s the big deal? After all, isn’t everyone more motivated when they are passionate about what they are working on? Yes, but the NEED to be passionate about their work is unique to Millennials compared to older generations. Millennials say passion drives their desire to be inspired to leadership and to accomplish goals. While other generations will agree that having passion for their work or a project is nice, when asked what drives them to be good leaders they are more likely to say accomplishing goals, money, success, family, civic duty, recognition, or a few other things before they say passion. Millennial leaders feel that passion for their work or a goal drives them to be leaders. Frequently it was the passion to accomplish something that made them step into a leadership role.

If you are a manager from another generational group working with a Millennial, you may find this challenging. Why should you care if the Millennial feels passionate about their work? This is their job to self-motivate so they care about being at work every day. But again, Millennials don’t always see it that way. As a group that looks at leaders as people who inspire them, they expect the leaders of their organizations to provide them with the inspiration and enthusiasm that helps promote the passion they should feel for the work they are doing. If their leaders aren’t passionate about the organization, how can the workers be passionate and, in turn, how can they be motivated to do their jobs. It’s just a different way of looking at it. My take on it is that putting some enthusiasm into your work has always had its payback but this is true more than ever if you have Millennials on your team.

My book is now available and the information is on the blog under a different tab. I hope you will find it interesting and helpful if you are in the workplace and trying to understand some of the generational issues in the leadership ranks.