By Brian Boucherle
Communication is rapidly becoming the most sought after and important skill for employees to possess, especially if an organization wishes to stay “organized.” Consider the communication challenges that occur between different departments. Then consider combining that with generational differences in communication and attitude.
Getting your whole team heading in the right direction toward its shared purpose involves understanding your employees’ motivations. I had the honor to sit on a 2017 PSA TEC leadership panel titled “Create a Shared Purpose,” which examined the challenges of leading multiple generations. My take away from the great panel I had a chance to work with … how easily alike and different our perspectives are.
Being the youngest of the panel, and a recent hire of Safe Systems, a PSA Security Network member company, I believe gaining experiences and feelings of personal achievement are strong motivators within my generation. In the workplace, knowing your job has meaning is powerful for sticking to the company’s mission. The other panelists provided a variety of insights on their methods and thoughts on mending generational differences.
Shaun Castillo, president of Preferred Technologies, viewed culture as the key component to bridging communication and motivation gaps within his company. Hire individuals who are highly compatible with the company culture and who are more willing to seek understanding with their fellow employees.
Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies, was confident that leadership has much to do with cooperation between age groups. You will find leaders in every generation, which she has found in her company. Leadership is not always particular to older generations. The younger generations are eager to be leaders when they believe they are capable of doing so with their company supporting them.
The medium in which we communicate with each other has become very diverse. While some have a preference or two, each medium has its perceived benefits. For example, Bruce Pontier, vice president and regional GM of Securadyne Systems, sees conversing over the phone as the golden medium. Outside of video conferencing and face-to-face, phone calls are excellent at developing relationships, and are more personal compared to texts and emails.
Motivations, mindsets, and communication methods are extremely diverse within generations, not just across generations. Paul Boucherle, panel moderator and Principal of Matterhorn Consulting, believes analyzing an employee’s behavioral traits through assessments could provide others with insight on how best to communicate thoughts and ideas. Someone with a more dominant and to-the-point personality may have difficulties conversing with someone who thinks abstractly and talks in-depth.
A great takeaway from this panel revolves around taking the time to understand each person and employee on an individual level. People are much more than the department they work in, the roles they take on, and the generation they are a member of. When it comes to developing your team towards a shared purpose, leaving the labels at the door is a sound piece of advice.
Brian Boucherle is a security and fire consultant with Safe Systems, a security and fire service provider based out of Louisville, Colo.