We are relational beings. The evidence is all around us. We wouldn’t punish prisoners with solitary confinement if we didn’t thrive off the warmth of humans around us. Even back in the stone age there was evidence through cave drawings of “families” or hunting groups existing. Today is no different. We hunger for the sense of belonging. Gangs, churches, associations, networks, reunions, unions, fraternities, sororities are all ways we have appeased the desire for relationship. Now, we’ve just added the complexity of the Internet.
Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve read several articles about how to manage and lead those entitled lackadaisical Millennials. Many are filled with great insight and extensive research. But, are we forgetting one important point? Millennials, Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X, The MTV Generation, however you refer to them are individuals first. Taking time to understand people as individuals is difficult, but that’s how genuine relationships work.
While my professional leadership experience is not extensive, I started at a young age, and began an easy-to-remember concept I call:
The idea was to help me remember that despite what research says about generations, races, creeds, genders, etcetera, I need to come to my own understanding by engaging with my employees on a more personal yet still professional way. Understand where these people are in their journey of self actualization, and where are they going to next. Once I’m able to see a bigger picture outside of misleading generalizing research, I can attempt to enrich their life by providing resources that will allow them to grow. One of my favorite books, The Generosity Factor, describes this form of enrichment through your time, talent, and treasure.
Everyone has value to give others. Whether that’s a lesson through personal experience, or an example of what not to do. Our time is our most valuable resources, but we can use it to just listen. Sometimes that’s all you need to do for someone to feel better. Our talent can sometimes be the wisdom we’ve cultivated by blending or skills, knowledge, and a few strategic failures. These are valuable teaching opportunities for others to experience through us. Our treasure doesn’t necessarily mean giving someone cash. Maybe as you engage with your employees or followers, you find that someone doesn’t have a car and you’re able to chauffeur or carpool. It’s important to remember how simple it is to enrich someone’s life.
Last on the list: Elevate these individuals. Lift them up. Inspire them through genuine actions to reach the next bar. Help them to create attainable goals, and cheer them on from the sidelines. Gradually transitioning from coach to an advocate.
Practicing these 3 Easy E’s will help you to universally lead any generation, and break through generalizing or stereotyping research, because they rest on a foundation of building relationships.
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