Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mastering Generation Y

Useful Gen Y advice from IBD.

This actually works for almost anyone ... but from the younger Gen X and down, good stuff to ponder. I would especially would like if the "everyone gets a trophy" attitude of the Boomers running the show now would take on board the "Trivial" paragraph.
They were born from the early 1980s to the mid-’90s. They’re Gen Y — the new, tech-savvy crop of workers. To make them leaders:

Build. Most Generation Y employees want a sense of belonging. They want jobs that help them make a difference. They also want to bond with their bosses, say Meagan and Larry Johnson, a daughter-father coaching duo and co-authors of “Generations Inc.”

Give Gen Yers all three, and you’re off to a strong start.

Let ’em pole-vault. In addition to making a difference, young people want peaks to climb.
Challenging work is key to engagement, especially among Gen Yers.

Deloitte execs Cathleen Benko and Anne Weisberg, authors of “Mass Career Customization,” cite several surveys showing that younger people value interesting work over high compensation.

Open up. Gen Yers want to learn. Offer what the Johnsons call “close coaching” and guidance. Once the young people gain mastery, loosen the leash.

Eye the upshot. When coaching, “explain the end result of the task,” the Johnsons said. “Tell why the project is important for customers, the worker and the organization.”

Pinpoint the resources workers will need and roadblocks they could face while doing the job. Help them devise a plan to master the hurdles, the Johnsons advise.

Be quick. Raised on the Web, Gen Yers are used to instant answers. As workers, they want to know how they’re doing, and often. They want encouragement — and fine-tuning as needed.

Do it correctly. “Feedback comes in two varieties, reinforcing and corrective,” the Johnsons said. Both responses are valuable. “Reinforcing feedback tells the receiver what he’s doing right. Corrective feedback tells the worker what he’s doing wrong, how to correct it and prevent it from recurring.”

Many experts say to mix the two. If you do it too often, the authors say, Gen Yers will see it as a sham. The moment you give positive feedback, they’ll be waiting for the grenade.

The best plan: Offer positive feedback without negatives.

When giving corrective feedback, don’t be a parent or teacher. Treat Gen Yers as equals. In many cases they have technological knowledge you may lack.

Make the relationship interactive. When offering feedback, see what you can learn. This adds value to the relationship and spurs loyalty.

Work the details. When giving positive feedback, spell it out.
Saying “you’re doing a great job” is often meaningless.

Skip trivial pursuits. “Reinforcing (minor) actions weakens (your) credibility,” the Johnsons said. “Praise should describe something the recipient values.”

Be wise. When giving corrective feedback, choose a stress-free time for yourself and the worker. Offering criticism during a deadline can be just so much static.

Stress prevents the worker from listening closely and learning. It can also make you less patient.

Choose a private location, avoid finger-pointing, and jointly find solutions. Offer suggestions, and ask the worker how he could self-correct.

Generate unity. If your staff ranges from Gen Y to mature workers, bring everyone into the decision-making process, say Louellen Essex and Mitchell Kusy, authors of “Manager’s Desktop Consultant.” Doing so will empower team members and unite them behind you.


Butch said...

This is good gouge for dealing with anybody, not just Gen Y-ers.

DeltaBravo said...

Generation Y should be called Generation WHY? 

They don't ask how high, sir? when you tell them to jump.

They need you to justify why they should do anything they are told and if your reason isn't sufficient for them, good luck getting compliance. 

No one ever taught them that "think for yourself" only comes AFTER "learn all the facts."

YNSN said...

It's flattering, so I'd say it's accurate.  ;)

Questioning authority... Yeah, we do it.  It's done to me by E4s and E5s constantly.  Lord know's I do it... Man do I do it. 

But....  I don't do it much in person, especially when being ordered to do something. 

However, when I am questioned why I told someone to do something.  It is because they do not understand the system use to accomish something.  If someone in my peer group understands the system they work in, and they have LEARNED TO TRUST ME.  Things get done with little question.

Also, I've never seen the "why" game played on the bridge or durring a casualty.

It's about trust.  JOs don't give much of a sense of being trust worthy right off the bat.  Though, after a year aboard, it's rarely questioned by equally seasoned Junior Enlisted.

xbradtc said...

Really? It sounds like these guys read the Army leadership manual and plugged in some buzzwords. 

Set high standards and help your people achieve them? Praise in public, punish in private?

Encourage your troops to understand the mission?

I learned a long time ago, virtually everything I would encounter in life has been encountered by someone in the military, and there's a manual with good guidance already published. 

Anonymous said...

Right on!

EMCM said...

 Does anyone have any factual data/proof that this kind of engagement with Gen Y actually produces long term, tangible results...ie increased profitibility for the private sector or increased mission accomplishment/combat readiness for us military folk? Anyone can put Gen Y theory down on paper based on interviews with Gen Yers, but can these same people tie that theory to real world success. This discussion also ties to the Naval Academy standards. There was a time when you came in the military and had to adjust/evolve/adopt the standards WE set, in the last decade, it appears to me that has flipped and the military now adjusts/evolves/adapts to the standard coming in the door...to a fault!

Dave Navarre said...

This works for anyone, but you only sell books or tickets to your seminar if you say it's about Gen Y'ers. Of course, they leave out that when there's an emergency, your people better understand that "WHY?" is not the right thing to say.

Grandpa Bluewater said...

How to solve a problem like Gen Y?..... Hrmph.

Perhaps the lambies themselves could use a epistle on how to accept, value, and learn from all kinds of criticism.

Included might be the notion the guy that rips your ass in private and sees you as less than a RFI bulkhead spare for a command qualified; sea experienced; selected for promotion Department Head, ...but possibly able to grow into such -  if you apply yourself, ... might be the best friend you have in a cruel and heartless world.  Especially if you learn to strain out the invective and keep the pearls of wisdom.

Youth must learn to deal with the world before it is able improve the part within their control. More clocks get taken apart by impetuous youth than get put back to rights.

The ocean neither knows or cares, it just lies in wait. Keep that thought close, if no other, mes enfantes.