As an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant, I work with leaders from all walks of life who interact with employees from all walks of life and all generations. The thing that I notice more often than not is that more senior leaders are “brushing off” a few huge opportunities to build out their relationship with their Gen Y careerists.
So, today, I am going to ask you 3 “DUH” questions…these are so obvious, but about 70% of the leaders I meet are not able to answer “YES” to these questions.
1) Are you using technology to communicate with Generation Y? This includes blogging, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, wikis and forums. This one step takes only minutes, and if you’re smart, you will learn how to connect all of your social networks together with a service like Ping.fm so that one message is sent out to all networks at one time. There is really no excuse for not using the technology Gen Y is comfortable using to communicate with them, and it honestly takes about 5 minutes to get set up.
2) Are you giving your Gen Y careerists a voice in your organization? If not, why not? This is one of the most creative, intelligent generations we have alive today, and if you are not asking for their input, listening to their ideas and then incorporating their suggestions into your company, there is a good chance you will lose them AND your company will lose its competitive edge. And…just stop that junk about how the economy is going to make Gen Y less vocal and more willing to follow some of what I call those “stupid rules” of the company where only senior managers have a voice and get invited into those “secret/private” meetings. That is so dark ages.
3) Are you spending time truly listening and supporting your Gen Ys when they come to you in need of help and feedback? I sat last week and watched a senior leader talking to a Gen Y…he was nodding his head up and down like one of those bobble head dolls that looked like this:
It was obvious he was not listening…he was just doing the bobble head thing to act like he was listening. Take the time to sit down with your Gen Y’s and really listen to them, give them the feedback they want, and give them the support they need to build a great career. You will be glad you took the time to show that you care. And…don’t do the bobble head thing…just stop that!