I’m Glad I’m Me
“No one looks the way I do. I have noticed that it’s true. No one walks the way I walk. No one talks the way I talk. No one plays the way I play. No one says the things I say. I am special. I am me.” Gen Y
– people born between 1978 and 1997 – grew up singing that nursery song. Given that we’re living in an admittedly “entitled” workplace, it’s fair to say, that parents and the world-at-large are wondering if songs like that were a wise move. Think about it. Kids were hearing “you’re special, it’s all about you” variations on a constant loop. “I won’t tell you “No”, because I want to be your friend…here’s your trophy because you signed up to play …we’ll enroll you in a school that doesn’t give F’s because we don’t want you to think you’re a failure, even though you don’t study. With more and more companies comprised of a combination of boomers, Xers and Ys (millennials
), executives are challenged with managing ‘entitled’ employees. And unfortunately, an environment of ‘entitlement’ is about security, bureaucracy, top down, status quo and apathy versus a continuous improvement climate where everyone is constantly seeking ways to improve on their outputs. Organizations and leaders want more accountable
employees. They want teams that are fearless. They want a culture of curious individuals who think and act with the following in mind:
- I need to contribute something of value
- I am responsible for developing better ways to service the customer, improve sales, improve operations, etc
- This is my organization and I feel responsible for what happens here.
- If it’s not right, fix it.
So, how do you get there? Here are a few tips:
- Coach & Mentor: Regardless if you are a leader or team member, at the heart of breaking the entitlement cycles is in coaching others.
- Goal Setting: Make key performance indicators highly visible and hold people accountable for achieving them. The better performers want to be held accountable.
- Higher Purpose: Having a shared vision and common goal as an organization encourages a collective drive and motivation.
- Communication and Consistency: Recent studies have shown that a key motivator is “being in the know.” Employees want to feel like they have a clear picture of what’s happening in the organization. Strengthen your team by regularly sharing information, which sometimes means communicating it more than once and in different settings.
- Transparency: When companies and their leaders are open and honest about where the company is, what its challenges are, and what it is working toward, it helps current tensions be voiced and addressed.