Author Northouse explains that “Effective leadership offers when the communication between leaders and subordinates is characterized by mutual trust, respect, and commitment.” Such communication and sincerity in our interactions is key to success. This behavior should be displayed by both top management and throughout the organization. It has long been my aim to instill such values in our organizational culture.
Information is key to business today. When it flows, there is innovation and excellence. When it is blocked, dropped, or misconstrued, our business suffers. Sometimes information doesn’t make its way thru the channels to all levels. Many times, valuable information is held by someone intentionally or unintentionally because one may feel that specific information should be on a need-to-know basis. This can create feelings of exclusion or mistrust in management and erodes trust and loyalty within the company.
To resolve this communication problem in my organization, we established a system of feedback that ensures that messages are communicated to and received at all levels. Two-way communication is always the best methodology to ensure that trust is developed, which leads to commitment in our employees.
Developing relationships is vital to building trust. For example, I use to think of going to the dentist an unpleasant experience, especially when it involved a tooth extraction or an annual in-depth cleaning appointment. However, my present experience is quite different. My dentist always communicates to me about the procedure which I am about to undergo, which establishes a rapport between the professional and the patient. The dentist details the procedures and gives me the option to continue the procedure or not. Importantly, my consent signifies my trust in their abilities and in the mutual concern about my well-being before digging into my mouth.
It is vital in our communications that we remove inaccurate mis-perceived ideas and clearly communicate our intentions. Fear of the unknown can be a debilitating factor, employees that do not know what to expect will fear the unknown and will act on their misconceived knowledge, which can be far from the truth.
Importantly, management must form positive relationships with their employees before implementing an action. Just as the dentist created trust in our interaction, managers and leaders must establish mutual respect in their relationships with employees. Promoting an atmosphere of collaboration creates trust and loyalty.
It’s a well-known fact that when employees become loyal to the company, they become dedicated and willing to work harder towards achieving priorities and fulfilling the company mission. They become eager to take on and complete those extra tasks and projects that are vital to success. I believe committed employees see themselves as stakeholders in the company’s overall success.
Derrick Darden, PhD
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1997, have become the focus of many demographic studies. Because they range in age from 18-34, millennials are studied for their impact on spending habits, shopping experiences, and business and employment (Pew, 2015). They’re a huge part of the workforce but are also the generation most likely to eschew the traditional workplace in favor of starting their own businesses, investing in startups, and working from home rather than in a traditional office setting.
They’re also amazingly tech savvy and can help older companies and corporation integrate into society’s existing tech environment. Not like older generations such as the baby boomers, millennials never knew a time period without computers, cell phones or the internet, technology was always present in their lives, it’s in their DNA (Marston, 2007).
1. Integrate Flexibility
Most millennials view strict adherence to a 9-5, in-office work schedule as outdated. Just as they thrive in casual work environments, they often prefer work hours and work locations that are less rigid than in previous generations. Consider allowing millennial employees to telecommute, freelance, trade shifts, and shorten work weeks. The goal, after all, is to get the job done, and allowing these employees to exercise flexibility might produce surprisingly consistent productivity.
2. Integrate Coaching & Collaboration
Millennials typically prefer not to work in a setting where they’re micromanaged. When employers guide and direct, yet leave room for personal development and self-management, millennials respond more favorably. Like 9-5 corporations of past generations, today’s companies want to reap the greatest productivity from their employees. Encouraging creativity, input, and team building will reap mutually beneficial results and allow millennials to feel valued.
3. Integrate Their Lifestyle
While devoted to their jobs and careers, Millennials hold a firm belief in a work-life balance. They thrive in companies that offer flexibility, paid time off, personal days, family leave, and emergency leave. Involvement in family activities and lifestyle and community events is important to them. They look for companies that allow employees to foster a well-rounded life and have time for friends, family and social events.
4. Integrate Growth Practices
Millennials appreciate opportunities to advance their careers – they may even look for opportunities to buy into the companies that employ them. They prefer careers with an upward trajectory to ones that remain stagnant with little to no possibility of growth or advancement. Instead, they have a greater interest in a company they can grow with or grow into.
5. Integrate Company Culture
The millennial generation isn’t always as matter-of-fact about accepting the existing climate of their workplace as previous generations. They look for clearly defined company cultures and principles. When those principles are clearly integrated into their work environment and into the products and services they offer, this generation will thrive. Rather than a faceless, personality-less corporation, this generation of employees prefers a business with a social conscience that has an impact on its community and on society.
Successfully incorporating millennials into your business means preparing them for today and for tomorrow. When they learn to lift as they climb, your company gets the best Generation Y (Millennials) have to offer, while simultaneously preparing Generation Z for the future. At the same time, they’re learning best practices from Baby Boomers and creating a generationally diverse workforce. That constitutes a win-win for everyone.