Managers who understand younger workers’ questioning increase satisfaction, cooperation
Washington, D.C.—July 29, 2010— Leadership development and research company Leadership IQ provides insights into how to manage generational differences in a new white paper.
“Managing Generation ‘WHY'” addresses the three-letter word that alternately puzzles and annoys managers of younger workers: “Why?” One manager even equated the sound of the word with that of nails on a chalkboard. How can one word become so grating and potentially divisive?
It comes down to a difference in generations, says Leadership IQ’s chief executive officer, Mark Murphy. Those born before 1980 were raised to do as they were told, not to question their elders, be seen and not heard. To this generation, “why” is seen as a challenge to authority or a complaint.
However, for Generation Y workers, “why” is not a dirty word. These adults grew up in a period where parents set their children on a pedestal, told them they were unique and important, and fought for them to be not just seen, but heard as well. Generation Y children were also taught that there is learning value in everything they do — so that every job that must be done has a reason, meaning, or significance.
Leadership IQ’s research found that there are two big reasons Generation Y asks “Why?”:
-The Big Picture “Why”: Generation Y workers want to know how they, as well as their work, fit into the whole. They want to know how the tasks they do affect the department, organization, field, or world as a whole.
-The Significance “Why”: Employees from Generation Y are typically enthusiastic to perform a task when they know the reason behind it. Their parents taught them that rules and instructions are important and good, but only if they make sense and fit the situation.
“Younger workers are asking ‘Why’ not because they’re insolent but because they are curious, inquisitive, and intelligent people who want to learn and grow,” said Murphy. “Instead of fearing or hating ‘Why,’ managers need to learn how to make their work fit into the larger context of the company and explain its importance.”
To help managers more effectively interact with their younger workers, “Managing Generation ‘WHY'” is available for download at http://www.leadershipiq.com/generation_why.html. The white paper is based on one aspect of a more comprehensive Leadership IQ e-course titled “Managing Generation Y.”
About Leadership IQ
Leadership IQ provides leadership training, best-practices research and employee surveys, primarily serving Fortune 500 companies. The organization focuses training and research on management and executive performance, workforce issues, negotiations, strategic planning and customer service. Leadership IQ is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Westport, Conn. For more information, visit www.leadershipiq.com.
Heath Davis Havlick
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