How To Lead The New Generation

It's not uncommon to hear business owners and executives complain that it's hard to find good workers or that they're just not as motivated as we were "back in the day". I hear that people today don't have the same work-ethic or all they want to do is surf the internet or play on their phones.

While it's true that people entering the work force today are focused differently from previous generations, that doesn't mean they're not every bit as capable or even more so. This generation has been raised with instant access to information and an incredible understanding of how to find answers quickly. They thrive in environments where they can communicate with lots of people at once and yet can stay focused on a single task for long periods of time when it's something that interests and engages them.

So the question I usually respond with is, "Did you hire the wrong people or are you not providing proper leadership and direction?" Either way, the fault may not be in the employee but in the management of the employee. Here are some things to consider.

- Did you properly describe the job, the culture, and the company when you hired the employee?

- Did you properly orient the employee as to the rules of the business (working hours, lunch, time off, attire, etc)?

- Did you consider whether the employee would fit in with their co-workers, the culture, core values, mission/vision, customers, etc?

- Do you provide regular guidance, complete instructions, expectations of productivity in the form of key performance indicators (KPIs)?

- Do you check in periodically to supervise work in progress, provide updated instructions or more detail and, most importantly provide encouragement and praise?

One of the biggest reasons I see in productivity problems is a lack of leadership and direction. Your employees aren't motivated by the same things you are. You worry about the corporate balance sheet and they worry about a paycheck. You worry about external competition and they worry about internal competition. You worry about accounts receivable and they worry that you're not satisfied with their performance.

Consider whether they were properly brought into the position and what kind of leader and mentor you are in your organization and you may find the problem is you. And that's a much easier problem to fix.

Good luck and get everybody pulling together!

  • January 19, 2015