Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘generations in the workforce’ Category

The Inconvenience of Accepting Others

In accepting others, age discrimination, ages in the workforce, aggression, anger management, arguments, avoiding arguments, being different at work, building rapport, bullies at work, business relationships, career-related problems, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, connecting with people, dealing with a difficult coworker, diplomacy and tact, disagree agreeably, diversity, empathic listening, feeling accepted, feeling safe at work, female discrimination, generations at work, generations in the workforce, inclusion, Liked by coworkers, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, person to person dynamics, professional women, Respect, respect by coworkers, Uncategorized on March 29, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Who gets on your nerves most at work? Whom do you avoid? What conflict keeps you up at night? How well are you functioning with others who clearly don’t like you? Who’s disrespecting you? How do you deal with these issues?

If you can find yourself in these questions, whether as the antagonist or the victim, I ask, is this what you’d hoped to create? Of course not!

It’s the norm to be uncomfortable accepting the fact that we have no control over others’ behaviors, tastes or perspectives. The part of our brains that demand certainty and comfort will go to battle to protect us against this threat, which is why we seek and approve of colleagues who demonstrate mutual understanding and familiarity.

It’s easier for a corporate culture to maintain the status quo, where judgment, prejudice, jealousy, and even hatred thrive, than to create a welcoming environment for all.

This is an important lesson that comes with having a career. How long are we going to provoke negativity and/or get sucked into it? It’s our responsibility to accept diversity and to include others who are different. The lack of this, where bias and exclusion are the norm, is destroying employee retention, morale, productivity and people’s lives! By allowing yourself to contribute, you are also getting held back; and I mean, not rising to your potential as a person.

The more we focus on what we don’t like, what we don’t control and how awful it is, the more it is going to weaken our resolve to be effective. On the flip side, for the people who are being isolated or excluded by us, it causes a huge amount of stress and shuts down the ability to think clearly, problem-solve and make decisions. Hence, they are losing traction to be most effective. Both sides lose.

Here are some steps that, albeit inconvenient, can turn things around to make positive impact:

  1. Focus on the real issue; not your emotional trigger. So instead of thinking, What a jerk he is to tell the client we don’t have the resources to fix the problem; think, Although I don’t like his response, I don’t have all the facts to understand why he said that.
  2. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. In using the instance above, instead of telling your co-worker he’s wrong, the goal is to avoid an argument. You might say, “I heard you tell the client we can’t fix the problem, which you must have analyzed. I’d like to understand your position–can you share with me how you came to that conclusion? We may have differing reports.”
  3. Analyze the value of diversity. There’s an old saying: If two people are of the same opinion, one of them isn’t necessary. Why fight the fact that your reality includes people who aren’t like you? How would this shift impact you as a person, let alone as a professional?

The truth is we can’t be eclipsed by another — that’s a myth that ambition and competitiveness, mixed with fear, fosters. Our contributions matter, so we don’t lose ourselves by allowing for others’ differences. Be inconvenienced and be a model for others. With hope, you will ensure that everyone you work with is treated with respect.

Respectfully,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Entitlement isn’t the Problem You are Having with Millennials

In ages in the workforce, baby boomers, breakdown in communication, business relationships, communication, communications between generations, entitlement, generation x, generations, generations at work, generations in the workforce, GenXers, improve communication, managing conflict, millennials, professional behavior, professionals over 50, respect by coworkers, Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm

You came into the workforce in the 1970s or 80s or 90s. Guess what? The Veteran population (born before 1946) thought you were little know-it-alls just waiting to take their jobs. And you did. There is nothing new about the inconveniences brought about by new generations entering the workforce.

Truly, can we blame Millennials for feeling entitled? Millennials have an entrepreneurial spirit and don’t tend to view corporate life as one big climb up the ladder in a vertical formula. This makes sense: their heroes are themselves Millennials! We didn’t have billionaire, entrepreneurial heroes. (Lee Iacocca wasn’t my hero when I entered the workforce as a secretary in 1982!)

Millennials had more opportunity to learn a wider range of things in college than we even had names for. Millennials do tend to get bored and want to jump ship if they don’t feel challenged. They feel freer to communicate with higher-ups and want to have a voice. They are a loud crowd!

GenXers rose up and flattened out hierarchy, feeling entitled to change reporting structures. This felt like anarchy to Baby Boomers who feel entitled to be respected for their experience and knowledge of how to successfully run a business.

See? Who doesn’t feel entitled to something? What’s wrong here is the fear and bias we are having with the differences in our ages and our cultures. You want to be a role-model for Millennials? Then start remembering what it means to shift your self-image from being a student to becoming a professional. Realize the hardships you had to face and the ways in which humility smacked the feeling of entitlement right out of you. And if this never happened to you, then ask yourself if people would describe you as arrogant and obstinate. Millennials just need time to grow-up; to run up against power threats and failures, and disappoint higher-ups, just like you had to. Meanwhile, stop blaming them for everything that’s making you uncomfortable with the changes that you don’t like.

I coach people of all ages on how to communicate and build interpersonal skills, and the most frequent complaint I hear is dealing with the other generations in the workplace. The answer is really simple. Use the discomfort to learn about your own unconscious biases, the need for confirmation bias (listening for those things you already believe vs. being open to new ideas) and your fears of not being in control. Then, apply TOLERANCE, the desire to UNDERSTAND, to INCLUDE, and to VALUE people who are not replicas of you.

After all, you’re entitled to be at peace.

Humbly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You’re 50 and Your New Boss is 30. Now what?

In assertiveness, baby boomers, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, diversity, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, generation x, generations in the workforce, gossiping, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, millennials, networking, office politics, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, training, Uncategorized, working with a younger boss on September 1, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m a Baby Boomer, born in 1959, and I’ve had this experience.  I was once VP of a sales department, having been overlooked for the open SVP slot.  A woman, 10 years my junior, became my boss.  I immediately read what I thought was fear in her eyes and I did what I could to show that I supported her. For several months she kept telling me, “You’re great!  What would I do without you?” Then at around the three month mark, she fired me. Not based on my performance, not because I was acting out against her.  I asked her point blank, “Why?” and her response?  “You’re not a fit.”  You can imagine what that felt like!

Not all younger boss scenarios end badly, although they may be challenging. If you’re currently reporting to someone who’s your junior, and there’s tension around this reality, then this article’s for you.

Here you are, sharp as ever, valuable as hell, and watching your peers leave (voluntarily or by being pushed out).  Inevitably, you are wondering what’s going to happen to you and your job. Plus, you have this younger person as your boss. From your perspective, you might be tolerating what you see as the bumps and blunders your manager goes through to gain respect and be an effective leader (only to show signs of vulnerability and feelings of inadequacy). Just think of how threatening it must feel to manage someone older than yourself!

You may be observing that he or she likes to run things a bit loosely. This person is likely to want more contact via email and text and less in-person contact. Your manager might be in a state of unconscious incompetence (which is another term for, not knowing what we don’t know) and may think your view on leadership is antiquated.

The truth is, good leadership is ageless. That being said, your younger boss comes from a different era, and has generational tendencies for which you should be aware.

Here are some traits associated with our younger colleagues, the ones about whom I am referring.  They likely born after 1975 and before 1987.  (The full span of “Generation X” is 1965-1981 and of “Millennials” is 1982-2000).

Techno-literate

Grew up embracing diversity and informality

Want to achieve balance between fun and work

Self-reliant

Enjoy a lack of rigid structures

(*Source: The Generations, Gary Trotta’s Training Games, Inc.)

Some of these tendencies are a breath of fresh air! So, what to do when there’s a conflict or you feel critical of your boss’ ways? Try to see things from your boss’ perspective. Imagine you’re 30 again and people the age of your parents report to you. Threatening, maybe a little? Much to prove? There’s a really powerful interpersonal dynamic that can become an opportunity to show your ability to dance with change, with people of all ages, and with the demands of the job.

When you see them struggle, offer assistance without being obsequious, pedantic or passive-aggressive. Just be you with all of your experience and wisdom.  Ask about your manager’s vision for the department and the role he or she sees you playing in it.  Occupy your space with confidence. Show interest in your boss’ perspective and demonstrate respect.  Become curious and enthusiastic about working together.

Besides, what are the options?  Just walk away? Fight the system?  Disregard the new manager’s responsibility for you?  We Boomers have been through a lot and we know that change is inevitable.

If we can accept what’s happening, grow with it and be a role model of flexibility and integrity, we can lead our younger managers to victory.

Enjoy the ride,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.