Alethophobia is an intense, abnormal or illogical fear of the truth.
In Fierce Leadership, Susan Scott asks, “How many times have you told someone – your boss, a colleague, a customer, your spouse – what you thought he or she wanted to hear, rather than what you were really thinking? Painted a false, rosy version of reality, glossing over problems or pretending they simply didn’t exist?”
This happens often. The thing is…we have legitimate reasons for why we don’t want to fully disclose. Perhaps it has destroyed a relationship in your past, and you don’t want to do that again. Perhaps you have seen someone lose their job over disclosing more, and you happen to like your job. Maybe you truly don’t believe it is your place to say what you notice or feel (this is a popular one).
The kicker is that not sharing the whole truth is more costly in the end. If you are out of integrity with yourself or others, research shows that it damages your health and wellbeing. Organizations and families, not sharing the truth can lead to loss of time, money, and/or complete failure to thrive.
Fierce leaders want to know the truth…and in turn, also have to share the truth.
This week’s tip is to share what you really think and feel. It takes courage and guts. Don’t make excuses.
What areas in your life are you strongest and weakest at fully being real?
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by INC and examines how Millennials are reshaping today’s workforce.
Over a third of today’s workforce in the United States is currently comprised of Millennial workers, and this number is constantly growing. In the last few years, Millennials have surpassed Generation X to become the dominant generation in the workplace and it is becoming increasingly important for companies to understand what Millennials want in order to attract and retain top talent.
Per Sylvia Ann Hewlett, research from the Center for Talent Innovation identifies three areas of focus that are important to this generation that progressive companies are taking note of.
1. A Diverse and Inclusive Workplace – As the most diverse generation in the workforce to date, with 44.2 percent identifying as non-Hispanic white in the latest census, an inclusive and diverse workplace is incredibly important. Millennials desire a work environment that mirrors their beliefs and values and provides the chance to work with people of different gender, culture, ethnicity, and sexual orientations.
2. Flexible Work Arrangements – With most Millennials in dual-career families or relationships, flexible work arrangements become a very desirable perk to ensure work-life balance. Per a Ernst & Young 2015 study, Millennials would like to have a flexible work schedule and still be able to grow within the company.
Read the third area of focus and the rest of the article here.
Lately the generational divide has been a topic front and center, in conferences, the press, blogs…we are surprised, and a little concerned with the assumptions about each generation that is being offered up as the “capital T” truth. Lately the generational divide has been a topic front and center, in conferences, the press, blogs…we are surprised, and a little concerned with the assumptions about each generation that is being offered up as the “capital T” truth.
Millennials now make up more than half of the general workforce, which may explain why they are taking a large majority of the heat. If you look at what’s being said, you’d think millennial zombies are coming in mass to get us. They will soon take over business as we know it, booting out boomers, trampling Gen Xers, and demanding every entitlement under the sun. According to negative press, millennials are narcissistic martyrs with unrealistic expectations.
Other generations are receiving criticism as well. Here’s some of what’s being said:
Baby boomers are too stiff and not adaptable.
Traditionalists are resistant to new technology.
Gen Xers lack collaborative people skills.
So where do these negative stereotypes come from? Most likely from opposing generations voicing their frustration when attempting to navigate relationships with colleagues from other generations.
This frustration may be rooted in the fact that with each generation, there has been a need to adapt a unique set of strengths and weakness to survive the circumstances of the times. Among other factors, traditionalists had to adapt in response to WW2 and the great depression, baby boomers experienced societal changes through the civil rights movement, GenX saw significant shifts in familial structures, and millennials are faced with new economic and social challenges not seen by previous generations. These circumstances have endowed each generation with assets they’ve brought to the workplace, as well as differences that can cause a generational “butting of heads.”
The truth is that stereotypes and labels can be harmful when they lead to assumptions, communication barriers, and an “us vs. them” mentality.
So we thought we’d add a different perspective to the chatter, from both sides of the generational divide.
From Stacey, EVP of Sales and Marketing, the Millennial:
Sure, some millennials can be needy at times – wanting feedback on a weekly basis. And yes, some millennials think they deserve their promotions before they have shown impact in their roles. Others not so much. As a generation, we do love our technology and continually improving our devices and toys. The thing is, there are millennials that work all hours to tackle a tough challenge. Millennials want opportunity to make impact. We want access, and frankly, are scared that we won’t be able to have the influence needed. Imagine that.
It may sound weird, but yes, I do prefer face-to-face conversations when I have a difficult topic to talk about with someone. I also am not a serial job hopper—I can actually be loyal to a fault. I don’t expect to get something unless I work very hard, and then if I achieve it, I work more to share gratitude for all the people who inevitably helped along the way.
I am not the stereotypical millennial and I do not believe the publicized generalizations apply to most of my millennial peers, either.
More than ever, all generations are aware of global issues. We’re all asking, “How can we solve these issues? Millennials do not necessarily believe that gamification and technology need to be inserted between us and the problem, but it could be.
We crave working with you, Boomers. After all, you taught us everything we know for the most part. You are our parents, and now you are our future coaches. We need you to guide us in what we don’t know, so we can truly bring something new to the table.
We can even do it face-to-face.
From Christine, EVP of International Expansion and Learning, the Boomer:
Sure, some of us are a little scared as the rules of engagement are changing. We are not as comfortable with digital as we should be. We are staying in our jobs longer and want the security of choosing to stay. We still think face time at work (and we’re willing to put in a lot of it) is the only time that counts. We fear our experience may no longer be valued. And we’re a little unsure about of the idea of a global generational society.
And others of us welcome this new and fresh perspective. We are rolling up our sleeves and jumping into the digital world. We love the freedom of being untethered in the old traditional ways. We don’t fear our worth and want to have our perspectives challenged. We don’t see the need for putting in time before you can have a voice at the table, and that multiple, often competing realities (insert generations) lead to better decisions and innovation…
And, after all, these are our children, and we think we’ve done a damn good job raising them.
When Generations Butt Heads
We have found that the generational divide is not so big, and we are more alike than we are different. The reality of each generation challenges the stereotypes. While media will always make a big stink about competing generations, the truth is, we need each other!
That said, the hope would be that generations could coexist in peace 24/7, but this isn’t always the case. If you or someone you know is engaged in what seems to be a generational conflict, here are a couple of tips to restore harmony to the workplace dynamic:
1. Show respect for different perspectives. The perspective of each individual in an organization represents one “stripe” in the “beach ball” model—all stripes are required to see the bigger truth. While you may initially experience resistance to new ideas, remaining open will lead to the best and most innovative decisions. Be willing to express disagreement while seeking to understand other perspectives at the same time. Ask questions and show curiosity with the intention to gain a deeper understanding. Listen for what matters to them.
2. Approach the issue as a human issue rather than a generational one. Regardless of generation, people are people. If we approach the situation as generational, we run the risk of labeling, falling prey to bias, and making false assumptions. Commit to having the conversation necessary to resolve the problem, whether it’s a feedback, coaching, or a confrontation conversation with the individual(s) involved, and remove the generational lens you may have when doing so.
What do you think? What would you add? Leave us a comment to share your thoughts.
It’s important to leverage the strengths of each generation and achieve a collaborative workforce. Find actionable tips in our “Multigenerational Advantage” whitepaper.
Chances are you work closely with someone who is of a different generation than you. Maybe he or she is your boss or your newest hire. Regardless, if they’re on your team or you work directly with them, your relationship with said person(s) directly impacts your results.
So how do you think you do at building relationships with people of a different generation than you?
I’ve always done really well connecting with colleagues who are almost exactly my age or those in the Boomer age range. My values, how I see the world, and what we think is funny or interesting often times seems to be the same. And yet, do I work with people much younger than me or Gen X’ers? Yes.
The reality is that it’s important to be self-aware about who you form relationships with more organically and who you need to be more intentional with. It’s easy to dismiss an entire generation with broad stereotypes to get out of having to put some work behind building a relationship. And yet, is that going to help you be effective or get the results you want?
What I’ve come to find out in my own practice of seeking out those who are different than me is, that in fact, I’m a lot more like them than I am dissimilar. Many times it was easier than I originally thought.
So how will you bridge the generation gap this week?
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and explains how both positive and negative emotions have a cascading affect with employee morale.
At Fierce, we have a term called an emotional wake. An emotional wake is what is remembered after you have left a conversation. Whether positive or negative, your emotional wake ripples out and affects your colleagues. It is contagious.
A negative attitude in the workplace is just as infectious as a positive one. Per Chris Cancialosi, Forbes, constant complaining can have devastating outcomes on a team including:
• It hurts productivity • It makes you look unprofessional • It brings people down
Fortunately, a consistently positive outlook can produce the opposite results. According to Positivity Strategist Robyn Stratton-Berkessel, what you focus on grows.
“It seems simple: you focus on trust and you grow trust; you focus on integrity, you grow integrity. When you train your appreciative eye in this way, you see there is so much to be appreciated—from the glorious sunrise, to the smiles of your colleagues, and the feeling of satisfaction for a job well done.”
A change in perspective can alter the way an individual or an entire company feels about the work they do. If you focus on what is working instead of what is not, you’ll be surprised by how much there is to be grateful for.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and for many, it is full of tradition. Whether at home or in the workplace, gratitude fills the air with the holiday season.
For me, every Thanksgiving dinner, my family starts a conversation with the same question. We go around the table and ask: what are you most thankful for? This conversation is such an effective connecting point for us. If you haven’t already, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself and others: what are you most thankful for?
The holiday season provides a great opportunity for leadership to spread warmth and thanks to colleagues in a way that can strengthen your workplace culture and nurture the relationships that are essential to collective success. Below are three tips to show your appreciation and have some fun with your team.
Tip #1: Take time out to connect.
The end of the year can be a hectic one filled with deadlines and quotas. The idea of taking time out of people’s already jam-packed schedules during the day might seem daunting, however, the break can actually rejuvenate a team’s spirit and make this last push more enjoyable.
Take your team out to lunch or throw a holiday potluck—kick back and enjoy each other’s company. This will remind your team that you realize they are working hard and you value what they do.
Tip #2: Write it down.
There isn’t anything quite like receiving a handwritten note. The time it takes to pick out the card, write the message, and even the physical act of handing it to your recipient shows you value and care about them. There’s not always time throughout the year to verbalize to your employees how thankful you are for what they do. This is the perfect time to put pen to paper with what you really want to say.
In the busy bustle of day-to-day life, sometimes we just give generic thank yous. The problem? Thank yous become routine and lose their impact. Make your thank you more meaningful by explaining how the person’s action made your day that much easier or better.
When you say thank you, also communicate why someone’s kind words or actions really made an impact. Be specific. Paint the picture. You may be surprised how much those who helped you enjoy hearing the effects they had. No thank you is too small, so share away!
Tip #3: Have a conversation.
There are times when talk is cheap—this is not one of them! The mentality toward the end of the year can be to put your head down and finish strong. While it’s important to not lose sight of your team’s deliverables—their hard work is worth mentioning.
If you have regular meetings with your employees, take time to verbalize why you appreciate them. Better yet, before the meeting, spend a little time and look at the projects they’ve been working on so you can bring specific examples of ways they’ve impressed you this year. If you don’t typically have these one-on-one meetings, ask if you can schedule one with your employees and use the time to boost their holiday spirit.
Although the holidays give extra emphasis to appreciation, don’t forget to practice Gratitude 365. Expressing thanks shouldn’t only happen in the months of November and December. Make it a daily practice within your organization by making it a part of every meeting—be it 1:1s, smaller work gatherings, or larger office meetings. Start each of these meetings by first expressing your appreciation—it could be as simple as a thank you for showing up, or a shout out to an employee going above and beyond.
As a leader, have you thought about how you can show your team some appreciation this holiday?
For emotionally intelligent leaders, a marker for their success is how often they share appreciation with their teams. However, this week I want to put the conversation in the hands of those they lead.
Think back over the year: How many times have you told your manager you appreciate him or her?
The responsibility to build emotional capital is a two way street. It’s important to share with your boss, and those who lead within your organization, that you recognize their work and are thankful for the job they do.
This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Gallup and explains the business impact of a “strengths-based” employee development program.
It is a well-known fact that employees are craving more on-the-job career development, and for the most part, are not receiving it. Common excuses and bottlenecks include, gaining support from company managers and leaders, fear of losing top performers, and not enough time and resources. Top performers are more likely to leave if they are not getting the career development that they are seeking, and the cost of losing those employees is much higher than employee development programs.
“Gallup estimates that only about one in 10 people naturally possess high talent to manage, and organizations name the wrong person as manager about 80% of the time.”
Per Gallup, part of the disconnect is that the wrong people are put into management roles and thus are not creating the right environment in which employees feel engaged. A new trend in employee growth, termed strengths-based development, focuses on developing strengths versus improving weaknesses. The idea behind this is that people innately enjoy working on things they are good at and are more productive when they are doing those things. The results for companies that have implemented strength-based management practices are astounding.
“Almost seven in 10 employees (67%) who strongly agree that their manager focuses on their strengths or positive characteristics are engaged. When employees strongly disagree with this statement, the percentage of workers who are engaged in their work plummets to 2%.”
It is time for companies to shift the way they approach career development and understand that it is something they need to have to retain top talent.
“While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life – any single conversation can.”
When I was in the entertainment industry, my friends and family loved to tell me about the fresh faced actor who landed in Hollywood, and on their first day, was plucked out of the crowd and put onto the path of stardom.
I had to break the bad news to them. 99% of the time this story is not the entire truth, and rather, a glossed over version from a PR team.
They pitch it that way, because many of us love the idea of being that one in a million, that person who has a glow and is launched on the path of success and prosperity.
The reality? It doesn’t actually happen that way. You’re selling yourself short to buy into it.
While someone may not pluck you out of the crowd and tell you you’re the next big thing within your company, any single conversation has the potential to lead you on the path. And that is very empowering.
Developing yourself into that super star employee starts with you. Below are three easy conversations to start owning your development today.
Tip #1: Ask for Feedback
It’s called development for a reason. It’s a process and part of that process is being aware of your actions and how they affect other people. Think of one thing you would like to get feedback on, and then ask two people: one person who you work really closely with and one person who may not know you as well. Garnering multiple perspectives is critical.
Tip #2: Have a Conversation with Yourself
It’s important to be able to answer: What is the impact I want to have on my company? Don’t wait for someone to pluck you out of the crowd and say you’re the next big thing – have the conversations with your leaders and show them you know what you are capable of and how it will move the needle.
Tip #3: Embrace Rejection
What’s nice about the idea of someone telling you what you’re capable of is that it means another person already cares if you succeed. Who doesn’t love that idea? However, rejection will happen. You won’t always get what you want. It’s in those moments when you should dig in deeper with your leadership and ask why and what’s next?
Remember any single conversation can.
How do you develop yourself?
Discover the importance of communication as a leadership competency in our Conversations: The Linchpin of Leadership Competencies whitepaper. Free download here.
In our Fierce Coaching module, the goal is to ask questions in order to help an individual work through an idea or issue, in order to find a new path forward.
This week look for opportunities to do this with someone in your life.
Start by asking: What is the most important thing we should be talking about?
Don’t coach them because you want to share your brilliant idea, or because you’ve been in a similar situation and have all the answers. Coach them because every time you ask someone what’s the most important thing we should be talking about together, you give yourself and that person the opportunity, through conversation, to have new perspective at the end of the conversation.