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How Managers Can Avoid Staff Revolt August 24, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, Baby Boomer, boss, business, career, contribution, corporate culture, corporate culture turnaround specialist, corporate values, culture, culture of excellence, Employee Engagement, entitlement, Gen x, Gen y, generational differences, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager.

titles can hurt cultureOn the web, when someone posts a video up on YouTube, do you ever ask if they graduated from Film School? When you read a Blog post that resonates with you, do you ask whether the author has a degree from Journalism school? When you hear of or read a practical piece of business advice, do you question whether the source of the good advice is an MBA? You don’t … unless you have one of these degrees yourself – only then does it become important – but by ego more than substance.

You see, if you expect your staff, your employees and your co-workers to respect you because you have a title, then you are the worst manager ever. Thinking that people will respect you because you have a title is arrogant and divisive. It will ruin your Culture and create higher rates of turnover. The new generation doesn’t respond well to following a title. But they will follow someone who has something of substance to offer. That’s why professionally produced YouTube videos rarely get near the same number of views as a lone-figure video, shot in a basement with poor audio. The professionally produced video is going for the “look” while the lone guy in his basement is going for the “feel.” The “feel” usually resonates more with viewers than the “look.”

Remember that lesson. That’s an important factor in the Culture you create. Your people want to “feel” what they do and you’ve got to find a way to deliver that. And if as a manager, you want to avoid a staff revolt, remember that fact.

The reality is that in the Generation Y (soon-to-be) dominated world, titles don’t matter because virtually every one of them has graduated university as well. They need university just to keep up – unlike Boomers who got a degree with an expectation of an executive job (along with the power and perks that come with it).

The new measure is NOT how much time you spent in school. The new measure is NOT what title you have. The new measure is what you CONTRIBUTE. That puts a first-year Gen Y and a seasoned Boomer with 30 years experience on the same footing. Attempting to keep down a good idea from a Gen Y because they “don’t have enough experience” just insults an entire generation and they will quickly be searching for other work.

On the radio, a good song is a good song, regardless of whether it’s Top 40, country or folk music. In the workplace, a good idea is a good idea, regardless of how long the employee with the idea has worked there.

Let’s not get caught up in tenure and seniority and pompous arrogance to the point where it affects Culture.



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