It’s all very well talking about Managing your Millennials, is it not also appropriate that Millennials (those born between 1980/82 and 1995 or thereabouts) learn how to work with Gen X?
Life and work is a two way process, it’s not just about what each individual thinks they are entitled to. It’s a pretty good idea to get on with people and make some effort to understand and communicated better, or what do you think?
Gen X classifies those of us born approximately between 1965 and 1984. X denotes the unknown generation. Taken from Deverson and Hamblett’s 1965 sociology book on British youth, Generation X. The Gen X philosophy is about leading people which means taking people with you. Following is a voluntary activity, you follow something or someone because there is something in it for you.
John C Maxwell in the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership sums leadership up as being ‘influence – nothing more, nothing less’.
Warren Bennis defines leadership as ‘a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.’
Gen X has a set of values, the most important of which is Emotional Intelligence. Many of this generation grew up in a time when their mothers were going out to work and working long hours (the film ‘Made in Dagenham’ typifies the experience these mothers and families had). This generation was introduced to the home computer (Commodore 64 or the Sinclair ZX 80 being prime examples), as well music videos and the in the UK the general downturn in manufacturing and the shift to service industries.
Gen X learned to be more self-sufficient because Mum was not always at home when they finished school. The first generation of so-called latch-key kids. This leads them to like others to go and think about how to do something, then to get it done. Even if the others get things wrong the majority of Gen X will be pleased that you have tried (there are always exceptions). Gen X may come across as sceptical at times.
This generation was brought up to question, brought up with more readily available resources than their parents ever had. The change in their lives was proportionately as monumental at the time as it is now for millennials.
Gen X is a more sceptical generation, which does not mean that they don’t accept change so easily, it does mean they question more; they give the benefit of the doubt. All the above means they value trust and may take more time to trust others. They also value long working hours because they experienced their parents working long hours and they are programmed to believe this is the ‘right way’ to do things.
People of this generation like to understand, they will question and will seek to understand. Trust works both ways. Gen X will trust you, if you trust them.
Gen X is results driven, but not overly competitive and not loyal to any particular company, be that in respect of brands, in purchasing or employment. They will however not change job as often as millennials, but more frequently than previous generations (there will always be exceptions).
Due to the fact that this generation probably experienced both parents working long hours (or one being absent) a good work/life balance is important to them. They like to work hard and play well, but they believe that play comes as a result of hard work and not that work is there merely to facilitate play. At work Gen X will appreciate enthusiasm, willingness to try things out and to discuss.
In brief Gen X likes equally to get on with things as well as to consider and analyse. They are goal oriented and focussed on achievements. They are good at relating to others, at ‘standing in others’ shoes’ (mostly). They value their own territory of responsibility and when needed will work together with others. They appreciate an understanding of others and how they are thinking and feeling (they don’t always get that right, because unless they have truly learned to understand others from the other person’s point of view, they only understand how they themselves would feel).
As a manager or leader they find it easy to create a vision, they may benefit from skills for getting others such as millennials or those Baby Boomers to follow Gen X. They are interested in other people and will name them by name, unless their environment forces them to look on staff as a cost allocation. They like their own territory of responsibility and work well together with others for short periods of time. They can both act and consider.
So how would Gen X like to be communicated with? They are happy with evolution and revolution. They like to hear that things are more, better, less, same except, evolving, with a smattering of new, totally different, completely changed, switch. Although some of that will depend on the working environment and local, and regional and country culture. They will change jobs or responsibilities or departments sometimes very three years, more often every five to seven years.
More next time on Baby Boomers and some ideas of how you can improve things at work. Or if you’d like to know more faster, please take a look at my LinkedIn profile and some of the Slideshare presentations on my Summary there, as well as previous articles or contact me Rosie O’Hara via the Developing Works website, or via my Coaching Website tel. +44 (0) 7796 134081 (What’sApp as well), +44 (0)1224 900748, +44 (0)1309 676004. And please comment on this blog too.
Remembering the Satir Categories this is by far the best place to be, it’s not always the easiest place to be. Our default behaviours are often governed by nature and nurture.
Levellers have few threats to their self-esteem. Words, voice tone, body movements and facial expressions all give the same message. Levellers apologise for an action, not for existing. They have no need to blame, be subservient, retreat into a computer behaviour or to be constantly on the move. They are great communicators and have the ability to build bridges in relationships, heal stalemates and build self-esteem.
How does a leveller think and behave?
The leveller response is a real-time congruent response. All the other responses are as a result of negative internal feelings causing words and actions to be incongruent. It is very easy, under pressure, to respond to a situation with either ‘it’s not my fault’ or ‘I’m sorry, it’s my fault again’, or to laugh inappropriately or show no emotion at all. None of these behaviours allow you to seek out rational solutions. The leveller response is the most effective behaviour for solving problems creatively:
– Look for solutions
– Have a conscious positive intention (for everyone and everything) behind everything they do
– Hold strong positive beliefs about themselves and others
– Operate from strong personal values
– Store positive mind images (of self and others)
– Have flexibility of behaviour when communicating with others
– Establish rapport before trying to influence
All these attributes can be learned through coaching and effective communication (which is with yourself and others), only by changing yourself can you change others.
It’s useful to bear in mind that emotional maturity isn’t all about behaving and acting professional. It’s also about controlling your anger and your personal feelings in a work context, getting the two things confused is counterproductive. You might disagree with a fellow worker, but that doesn’t mean that you can get angry -or attack them in some way – because they shoved you out of their way. Simply let it go, (breathe) relax, and focus on the task at hand, which is your work. Of course it’s nice to make friends and be sociable at work, the best work environments however are those where there aren’t tangled webs of gossip and relationships that are keeping people from being productive.
If you really want to be professional in your job, you need a professional attitude and environment to work in. Needing to deal or work with people who are less than professional can become stressful, but avoid wasting anyone’s time trying to deal with them or even paying attention to them. Instead, you just let them go and do your job the best that you can. Work is not intended to be boring and repetitive by any means, it is called work for a reason. Socialising and acting silly with your friends after work is fine. Those who are the most emotionally mature (or appear to be so) so the Levellers will be the most successful in the workplace, after all.
So last time I mentioned the Satir Categories, well the Blamer. So here a little more on these categories. What I think is interesting about Virginia Satir is that she was a family therapist, so why mention her in the context of work? Well we often spend more time at work than with our families so work becomes our family. Sobering thought.
Virginia Satir was one of the people modelled in the early days of NLP. She was a highly effective family therapist. Virginia identified, in her book People Making, the following behaviours; they are not exclusive to dysfunctional families. We can notice them everywhere.
Virginia had four behaviours that were responsible for many conflicts and one used for resolving conflict and bringing people together.
There is an NLP Presupposition or Operating Belief ‘Mind and body are part of the same system and what effects one affects the other’. For example if you hunch up when sitting at the PC and trying to meet a tight deadline, you will feel stressed and then that stress will manifest itself physically in your shoulders, back, or elsewhere. Our bodies react to whatever changes our minds go through and vice versa.
Your body gives signals to other people and sometimes people will read these signals incorrectly. However when you create a smokescreen and gloss over your problems in your mind, others will intuitively know that something is incongruent and their reaction to us may not be the one we intended, they might ‘write us off’ or they might ‘treat us in a way we didn’t want’.
Distracters seek attention to compensate for their feelings of loneliness or inadequacy. The positive intention (‘all behaviour has a positive intention’ – another operating belief) behind this behaviour is to protect them from facing up to things. Distracting behaviour includes removing a hair from your jacket while talking, sabotaging a conversation by making a joke, interrupting a conversation, frequently changing the subject. There are many types of distracting behaviour that people use to deflect attention from a subject that may be reminding them of their feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. (Over time this becomes a pattern and they are not consciously aware of what they are doing)
The placater is out to please – talking in an ingratiating way, never disagreeing and always seeking approval. Feelings of an inability to cope alone create a martyr or ‘yes man’ (or woman!). A placater is often the first person to accept blame when things go wrong. (Over time this becomes a pattern and they are not consciously aware of what they are doing)
See the previous blog post;)
Computer-like behaviour is very correct and proper but displaying no feeling. The voice is dry and monotone and the body often very still and precise in its movements, which are at minimal – masking a feeling of vulnerability. (Over time this becomes a pattern and they are not consciously aware of what they are doing)
And there’s the Leveller but that’s for next time