Thursday, April 9, 2009

Learning to Take Command

In Captain Michael Abrashoff's book, It's Your Ship, he discusses how taking command of USS Benfold required a change in his own leadership model. He found that time and age changes many things. In order to tackle these challenges, he researched exit surveys and interviews and found that the top reason people leave jobs was because of "not being treated with respect or dignity; the second was being prevented from making an impact on the organization; third, not being listened to; and fourth, not being rewarded with more responsibility". Low pay was way down in the fifth position.

In leadership or staff training, you really must look at your demographics in order to be effective. Organizations have very diversified age ranges these days, from Baby-Boomers to the Gen-Y'ers. These two groups, and all in between, have very different mindsets. Like it or not, you may have to adjust your own ways in order to be more effective. The old "my way or the highway" type of leading just isn't going to fly with the younger folks.

A good way to demonstrate the differences in the generations is to look at the way they compare work and life.
  • Baby Boomers - view themselves and their career as one and the same
  • Gen X - balance work and life; like flexible working hours and job sharing
  • Gen Y - express themselves rather than define themselves through work
In the Gen X and Y'ers, we've lost the "company man" attitude and gained a more entrepreneurial, flexibility attitude. In order to create better unity, treat everyone, from your newest member to your most seasoned employee, as if they have great things to offer and are motivated to do their best. And of course, keep continuing training a priority so staff don't don't get stagnate in their jobs.

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