Our Similarities Not Our Differences

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Within the next decade we will have four generations in the workforce. While it is easy to point out the differences between these generations and postulate about the causes and impacts of these differences, what about focusing on, celebrating and harnessing the similarities?

That’s exactly what Joe Murphy (managing director of National Workplace at Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors (ABLA)) highlighted in a recent article ‘Managing Millennials’ in the Human Resource Director magazine 1.

Murphy writes “At their core, millennials are just like any other generation: they want to feel secure, they want to be trusted, they want to be liked, and they too want to be successful and part of something that is a success”.

I’m not suggesting we ignore any real or otherwise differences across generations at work, but we do need to be careful about ‘pigeon holing’ and labeling generational members. By focusing on similarities of security, trust, like-ability and success, leaders across all industries and professions have a real opportunity to create more harmonious and collaborative places to work.

Some of the leading companies in the world regularly named in the Top Places To Work have embraced the strategy to enhance the employee experience because of its positive impact on the customer experience. This is not a simple values statement on some corporate office wall that says ‘our people are our most valuable asset’. This is a commitment by leaders across the organisation to be genuinely, authentically and practically looking for ways to enhance the employee experience.

While we are all different in and outside of our own generations, if we each develop an ‘applied positive intention’2 to at the very least start with honouring our similarities and looking for ways to make life easier and better for those we impact through our own work (and broader life) roles, we enhance our confidence required for self-trust, we build our courage required to trust others, and we develop our combined competence and character to earn others’ trust.

Of course, this is not a quick fix, but it’s not a difficult strategy to get started on – so long as we keep remembering and reminding each other that almost every measure of success in our professional (and personal) life is impacted by the level of trust relationships we have, with ourselves and with others.

  1. www.hcamag.com Issue 16.01
  2. Applied Positive Intention – this is the practice of clearly defining and putting into action positive intentions to make life better for others in our lives
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