Can You Deal with Those Who Are Negative?

Over the past year I have been involved with a number of change initiatives that companies are implementing to improve their business practices and competitive advantage.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how managers could successfully impact change within their organizations. Any change effort is often met with resistance because the change may take people out of their comfort zone, may require them to learn new tasks and develop new skills, or may increase insecurity about their future. Whatever the situation, change usually brings about increased negativity by those who are affected. Because I teach people how to talk about potentially difficult situations, I am frequently asked what is the best way to deal with those who are highly negative.

Negativity in our speech and attitudes seems to be running rampant in our culture at the present time. There is more mention in the media about injustice, instability, or inequality than there is of opportunity, integrity, and virtue. Negativity is contagious; naysayers and complainers plant seeds of negativity wherever they go which adversely affects those around them. The complaining, whining, and blaming does not lead to the creation of anything positive. When I was a grumbling teenager, my father once said, “Complainers don’t contribute, cynics don’t create, and doubters don’t do.” Unfortunately the people who speak negatively reveal their thinking and the desires of their hearts.

One of the challenges you may face is knowing how to stop the tide of negativity. Here are some suggestions for creating a more positive atmosphere.

Listen to what people are saying. When people are complaining they are telling you about what is important to them. When individuals start criticizing and condemning others or their organization, they are revealing themselves. For example, if someone were to say, “Those two people are so lazy!” What they are telling you is that they tend to be lazy and are trying to divert attention away from themselves or they are upset by those that don’t perform to the same level that they do. We tend to see the world through the lens of our judgments or inadequacies that we project onto others. You can learn a lot about a person by the accusations that they make of others.

Listen for values. Every negative statement that a person makes is really a statement of a positive value. Unfortunately the value is hidden behind invective and emotional language. For example, someone may complain, “You never listen to me!” What is often missed in this statement is what the person is really saying: “I have something important to say, and I wish that I had your attention.” Because we have not attuned our ear to listen for positive values, we are put off by the negativity and miss the person’s plea for acknowledgement and understanding.

Confirm the value. Once you have heard the value hidden behind the negativity, you can connect with the person by acknowledging their value. Figuratively this is like removing yourself from a position of opposition or conflict and aligning yourself with the person on the same side of an issue. For example, suppose someone said, “I don’t have time for all this extra work these changes are creating.”  To confirm the value, you would say, “I understand how important it is to you to do a great job, and how it is important to you to have ample time to do your job. Is that right?” Notice that you are confirming what they value and that you are asking them to confirm your thinking. Don’t worry if you have guessed incorrectly in acknowledging what is important to them because they will correct you if you miss the mark. What is important is that you make the effort to understand them. This signals that you are listening to them, trying to understand their perspective, and value what they have to offer.

Explain the complexity. Explaining the complexity is about explaining the details and rationale that they may not understand. For example if I confirmed the value above, I would explain the complexity by stating, “All these changes and tasks are to measure our productivity and are designed to help us become more productive and efficient. Gathering these metrics will help us to know what we have to do to better serve our customers and remain competitive.” Of course further specificity or concrete examples may be needed to make the point. People are often resistant to change because they don’t fully understand why the change is necessary. This lack of understanding is what creates resistance.

Accentuate and celebrate the positive. In order to make mention of positive events or results, you have to be more aware of what is happening. People within organizations are usually not very good about identifying the positive and then deliberately sharing the positive results that have been achieved. Accentuating the positive acts as the antidote to others’ negativity.

When good things happen or success is achieved, let others know about it. Share positive stories that will inspire confidence and hope for a brighter future. Make a deliberate effort to celebrate the successes achieved.

Recognize personal effort. If when listening to others you notice that the person is making negative comments about themselves or their future, then you need to recognize the positive efforts of their achievement. We don’t recognize others for their contribution often enough. When things start changing, individuals will naturally assume the worst about themselves. Any time you can make a sincere attempt to dispel the doubts they express about themselves is well spent.

Encourage persistent effort. Sometimes negativity arises from individuals who are struggling with new tasks or processes. If you notice a co-worker who is trying, but may not be succeeding, offer a kind word of encouragement and tell them that you know that they can be successful if they will persist in their efforts. You don’t have to be the manager to have a positive impact on those around you.

Increase their awareness. Sometimes people don’t realize how negative they are or how their language and behavior are adversely affecting others. With great respect, you may need to approach the person and kindly tell him or her what is so obvious to others, but may not be obvious to them. If you do this as a sincere attempt to help them improve their interactions with others, they will listen and hopefully take any suggestions that you may offer.

There is far too much negativity in our speech and interactions with others. Sometimes our negativity or that of others is borne out due to frustration with any number of issues. If you want things to improve, you can learn to manage others’ negativity more effectively by implementing some of these suggestions. Asking yourself, “If not now, when? And if not me, who?” may help you to decide the positive results are worth the effort.

11 Questions for Evaluating Your Effectiveness

I was recently facilitating a class for executives teaching them how to hold potentially difficult conversations. One of the attendees asked me, “With all that we already have to do, is this really all that important?” I walked to the whiteboard and drew a picture with the word “manager” written vertically on the right, then I listed words like productivity, profitability, accountability, retention, job satisfaction, personal engagement, customer satisfaction, culture change, motivation, collaboration, and innovation in a column on the left. I then explained that a manager is the gateway to the accomplishment of the issues I had listed. If any of these areas are lacking, then the manager is essentially missing the opportunity to manage as effectively as he or she could. That was the end of our conversation.

Whatever issue you may currently be encountering, those are the opportunities for individuals to grow and develop. I like to say that “your distress is the key to your success.” In other words, whatever or whoever frustrates you the most at work is probably in need of your attention; your negative emotion becomes the cue to where you need to place that attention. I also hope that you recognize that the key to improving any of the eleven areas listed above, is dependent on your ability to talk about and work through such issues in a respectful and meaningful way. A manager’s inability to effectively manage can be tied back to the way they communicate and interact with their people.

What follows is a list of questions that you might find helpful to ask and candidly answer yourself. Hopefully your answers will provide some insight about where you might give your full attention.

How productive are your people? I believe that you get what you measure. If you don’t have specific measurements about who is performing well and who isn’t, then it is difficult to know who needs your encouragement and who needs your further assistance to improve their performance.

How does your group contribute to the profitability of your organization? If you are not sure, then I would bet that your people probably don’t know either. You need to understand how you are using your resources and whether the use of those resources is providing the expected return on the investment. If the return does not match the effort, then something needs to change quickly.

Do your people meet the goals, deadlines, and expectations you provide? If not, then you must first take a look at how specific you are in the directions you are providing. If you feel that their lack of performance is at fault, then you must ask yourself if you are talking to those people and providing the necessary information and ongoing feedback so that they can meet your expectations. You need to take a look at yourself first before you take a look at them.

Are you losing people to other companies or departments? That should be evidence enough that something is not as it should or could be. People want to do well, and they will stay where there are opportunities to grow, learn, and make a meaningful contribution. When people are not getting what they need, they will search for other opportunities. You want to make sure that you are providing them with meaningful opportunities and that they know that you value their contribution.

Are people satisfied with their jobs? This is closely tied to the previous question; however, if you haven’t asked this question of anyone, then you need to recognize that you are missing the opportunity to learn how people view you and your leadership. If you don’t have a more realistic view of yourself, then you won’t know what you need to work on. You can’t fix what you don’t see or understand.

Are your people personally engaged? This seems to be the current hot topic in the management field today. When you stop to consider that a recent [1] Gallup survey suggests that only 30% of the workforce is engaged, you have to wonder what the other 70% of the folks are doing. You will not know unless you ask. You must begin to hold the types of conversations that will help you understand the hearts and minds of your people if you expect them to be engaged in what they are doing.

When was the last time you asked your customers how you are doing? This is the type of information you should actively seek. What your customers think of the services you provide will determine whether or not they will continue to be your customers. Most people have a choice in where they do business. You want to make their business your business. You can do that by talking with them and determining if you are meeting or exceeding their expectations. What you learn from holding these types of conversations will help you make the needed changes that contribute to the success of your company.

How does your culture impact performance? Culture includes the general atmosphere in which people work. That atmosphere is created by the values that the organization endorses and what people actually believe and experience in relationship to those values. For example, if your company espouses work life balance, but management demands that everyone work 60+ hour per week or that they work six days a week, then something is out of alignment. The culture will impact how people view themselves within the organization and how they do their work. Learning about the cultural nuances that may be impacting performance is well worth your time.

Are your people motivated? You might answer this question by assessing whether or not people take the initiative to do work that might normally be part of their job description or whether they go out of their way to help and support others. Asking yourself these questions and then observing performance through that lens may help you learn some things about your people that you didn’t know before.

Do people work and play well together? This question is intended to address collaboration. So much of the work we do requires that we rely upon one another. If individuals have difficulty working with one another, then the quality of the work is usually negatively impacted. If you manage a team that doesn’t collaborate well together, then it is time to find out why and help those individuals figure out what needs to change about the way they think and work together.

What could be improved in the way your people do their work? Your people know what works and doesn’t work or what could be improved to save time and money. If you are not taking the time to learn from them, then you are missing the opportunity to make some changes that will increase their work efficiency and will make them appreciate you for helping them to be more successful. Innovation should be part of what every manager does to help their team to be more successful.

I believe that it is vitally important that every manager realize that they are the gateway to the success that they expect to achieve. Taking advantage of the opportunity to hold these important conversations will contribute to increased success in your workplace while expanding your capacity as a manager.

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5 Questions That Can Change Your Life

Sometimes we are simply unconsciously conscious. We walk around in the light of day, but we are unaware of where we are, where we’re going, or what we’re doing.  Not until we have passed the exit do we realize that we have been asleep at the wheel and have missed the destination we thought we were heading for.  Here are five questions that will heighten your level of awareness and increase your ability to change your life and achieve the results you desire.

What Are You Feeling?

Our feelings or emotional reactions are a powerful reflection of what we value. For example, if you are feeling angry, frustrated or disappointed, these emotions are a sign of some misalignment with your personal values—hot or negative emotions are symptoms of violated values. On the other hand, positive emotions or feelings like contentment, satisfaction, or excitement indicate that values have been affirmed.

Suppose your boss tells you that you did a terrible job on a recent presentation you worked many long hours to prepare. You may feel angry or frustrated because you believed that your hard work would be acknowledged and appreciated.  When your expectations went unrealized, and you received feedback contrary to your perceptions of your effort, not only were your hopes dashed, but your values for hard work and superior performance were also violated.

If your performance had been praised you might have felt excited and pleased at the acknowledgement for a job well done, affirming your personal value for professional performance and the acknowledgment of appreciation. Pay attention to your feelingsthey reflect alignment with your values.

What Are You Observing?

From the time we awake each day, we observe what goes on around us. Ironically, though, we don’t see what we are observing.

Earlier in life I had the opportunity to practice law, and I once had a client who asked me to help her with her seventh divorce. At one point I asked permission to pose a very personal question. She agreed, and I asked, “Do you ever wonder if the universe is trying to teach you something?”

Amused, she responded, “What do you mean?”

“I just wondered if you ever asked yourself what you might be doing that contributes to all of your relationships ending this way.”

She contemplated for a while, then smiled and asked, “Will you do my divorce or not?”

We often become so mired in the events of our daily lives that we do not realize when we are stuck. The old saying holds true: fish discover water last. Instead, we should be both participants and observers of our lives. Our behavior and the resulting consequences of our actions are constantly sending us messages, as is the environment surrounding us, but we usually ignore those messages. The ability to objectively observe our experience allows us to consciously make different choices should we desire. See what you are observing.

What Are You Thinking?

Noticing how you think or interpret your own observations will help you understand your feelings (because thoughts create feelings), and will also help you recognize the particular slant or bias you mentally assign to your experience.

One counselor shared with me that she was surprised at how many people stayed in abusive relationships. She said that when she asked them why they stayed, the reply was always similar: “The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t.”

Two interpretations can be made about such thinking. These people might believe that either (1) it is easier to stay with what they know than to try something new, or (2) anyone else they might choose will be as bad or worse as the current partner. Notice how an awareness of your thinking can serve as the basis for understanding your choice of behavior—because thinking drives behavior.

Exposing your thinking and learning to challenge its accuracy is the key to improving your results. Just because you think something does not necessarily guarantee that it is an accurate representation of reality. Yet we get so caught up in the way we think about things that we seldom stop to challenge our thoughts for their accuracy. We often make assumptions that are incomplete or entirely inaccurate, and then breathe life into them by living them into being.  It is crucial that you learn to check your thinking by evaluating or substantiating your observations. Notice your interpretations and challenge their accuracy.

What Do You Want? And Why?

Knowing what you want is an exercise in identifying and clarifying your purpose and goals. Answering the questions “What do you want?” and “Why?” is about making conscious choices. A lack of clarity leads to unrealized aspirations. The clearer your intent, the greater the likelihood that you will be successful in achieving what you want.

An instructor of first-time skiers will usually caution, “Whatever you do, don’t look at the trees when you start heading down the hill!”  Why?  “Because that is where you’ll end up—in the trees!”  Stay out of the trees; get clear on what you want.

After identifying what it is that you want, ask yourself why you want what you want. Asking “why?” helps you to identify the values or rationale behind what you want. If your “why” is big enough, it will help you overcome the debilitating power of excuses or stories you usually tell to justify your lack of results. Understanding your “whys”—your values—will strengthen your resolve and increase your motivation to pursue your goals. Identify what you want and why to drive results.

Where is My Focus?

Answering the question “Where is my focus?” allows you to recognize when your what and why are out of alignment with your thinking and doing. Just as your feelings are a reflection of your alignment with your values, your results are a reflection of your focus.  And where your focus goes, your energy follows.

A friend of mine recently discovered that he was not getting an expected raise and a promotion. For weeks after his discovery, all he could do was focus on what he didn’t get. He whined, stressed, and complained about the company, his boss, and his work. Focusing on what he didn’t get created more and more negativity. Finally his spouse, tired of all the drama, pointed out that his energies would be better spent focusing on what he ought to improve and change. Only then did he shift out of victim or “woe-is-me” mode.

It is important not to focus on what you don’t want. The human brain does not understand “don’ts”, but it is very clear on “do’s”. For example, if you say, “I don’t want to be unhealthy anymore”, the brain registers “go ahead and eat your heart out”. Instead, you want to clearly focus your aspirations by stating, “I am thin, healthy, and full of energy”. Your remarkable brain understands these aspirations and will help you achieve these results.

Actually, the ski instructor mentioned earlier really should tell his novice skiers: “Whatever you do, always look downhill and pick out the path where you want to go”. Telling people not to look at the trees practically ensures that they will look at the trees—and create the very results the instructor is trying to avoid.  Observe and refocus your focus.

We all have everything within us that we need to achieve results. The key to success is increasing our awareness of our feelings, observations, interpretations, what’s and why’s, and our focus. Bottom line: each of us is, in ourself, the clue to what we can do and achieve.

15 Tips for Providing Effective Feedback

After becoming a new manager, I will never forget the first time I had to give constructive feedback to a member of my team. I began with, “I wonder if you would be open to some feedback.” To which this person said defensively, “I definitely would not!” Somewhat taken aback by that response, I paused. As I was deciding what to do next, I noticed that the other person seemed nervous and apprehensive. Not knowing what to say, I didn’t say anything and quickly walked off. After reflecting on this experience, I decided that sometimes simply the word “feedback” strikes fear into the heart of the receiver, or elicits another negative emotional response.

When giving feedback, either positive or constructively critical, there are only two reasons for doing so: to change or reinforce behavior in order to achieve a desired result. With those purposes in mind, here are 15 tips for providing feedback.

  1. Assess the context. In assessing the context, you want to ask and answer three questions before moving forward:

    • “Does this issue need to be discussed?” This question forces you to think about the impact of a person’s behavior on the results that are being achieved and to determine if the issue is critical to success.

    • “Should I be the one to provide the feedback?” This question will help you focus on your responsibility for the outcome of the task at hand or whether someone else would best address the issue.

    • “Is now the time to talk about this?” Timing is important when considering the timeline and goals you are trying to meet.

2. Prepare the conversation. Once you have determined that the issue is critical, that you are responsible, and that the timing is urgent, you need to take a moment to think about what and how you will frame the conversation that you need to have.

3. Identify your intent. Your intent is your purpose or what you want to achieve in holding the conversation. For example, during the last three weeks you have noticed that one team member has been late in submitting their financial report. This has caused others on the team to be late with their analysis and presentation of the team’s weekly financial report. Therefore, your intent for holding this conversation is for your team member to meet the agreed-upon deadline for submitting their financials. Identifying your intent will help you to stay focused on the topic of the conversation and not be distracted.

4. Craft an Attention Check. An Attention Check is a respectful way to garner the attention of your listener while engaging them in the conversation. For example, considering the example above, you might say, “I’d like to talk about how you could really have a positive impact on our team. Can we talk about that?” The Attention Check is general enough to gain the curiosity of your listener while also inviting their permission to continue. In all my years of using Attention Checks, I have never had someone say, “No, I don’t want to talk about that.”

5. Identify and gather the data. The data or facts in this conversation should be comprised of verifiable evidence that you have observed or heard and forms the basis of your thinking. For example, if your team member has been one to two days late with their report for the last three weeks in a row, then those are the facts that you would want to share.

6. Craft a respectful interpretation. Your interpretation should logically arise from the facts that you have identified and is your opinion or judgment of the situation. Wherever possible it should give the person the benefit of the doubt so as not to create defensiveness on the part of your listener. For example, it would be much better to say, “I’ve noticed that your financial reports have been one to two days late during the last three weeks (data). I’m wondering if you’re having some kind of a challenge of which I am not aware (interpretation).” Notice that this interpretation expresses concern and a desire to understand the person’s behavior rather that assuming they are lazy or not committed to doing their job.

7. Ask questions. We do far too much telling and not enough asking. Because your interpretation is the meaning that you assign your observations, it is natural to ask questions to try to confirm or disconfirm your thinking. In the example above, it would logically follow that you would want to ask, “What has been happening the last few weeks?” Once that question is answered, you are free to ask other questions that will enhance your understanding of the situation.

8. Agree upon a mutual plan. The whole reason for holding this type of conversation is to achieve the desired results. Taking the time to formulate and agree upon a plan as well as determining who will do what, by when, is the key to achieving success.

9. Allow time to process. Once you have given feedback to a person, you might ask them if they would like some time to process what you have shared. In many instances, it takes time for folks to assimilate information, especially if it may have come as a surprise to them. Circling back to answer any questions or to address other concerns communicates that you are interested in them and their success.

10. Keep it simple. When giving feedback, limit the feedback to only one issue if at all possible, but certainly no more than two. You don’t want to overload the person. They may ask you to provide them with multiple examples of the issue you are discussing. Keeping the feedback limited to one or two specific concerns will allow you to gather needed data before the conversation occurs. You may not be asked for other examples, but if you are, then you will be prepared with supporting specifics as needed.

11. Allow sufficient time. Make sure that you schedule enough time to provide feedback and then to respond to their questions and concerns. Providing critical feedback should not be forced or rushed. The process of engaging in an effective dialogue should run its course without time constraints. Think through how the conversation might go and allow sufficient time for it to go there.

12. Consider proximity. Feedback should be given as close to the time frame in which a situation has occurred as possible. No one likes to receive feedback in a performance review about a concern six months after it has occurred. Remember, until you provide feedback about something that has happened, nothing will change. The sooner you provide feedback, the sooner the person will make appropriate adjustments.

13. Control yourself. If a person has done something that has caused you to react emotionally, you must wait until your emotions subside. If you try to address an issue with someone while emotionally charged, you run the risk of becoming more emotional and possibly irrational. And you may escalate the emotional reaction of the other party in the process. If this happens, the opportunity for an effective interaction is likely lost.

14. Acknowledge great performance. Too often the only time that managers speak with their people is when they have done something wrong. People are much more willing to accept correction if you are providing positive feedback on a regular basis. Try to catch people doing something right, and then express your appreciation and gratitude for the work they do and how they contribute.

15. One-on-one. Perhaps this should be common sense, but it is surprising how often managers will provide critically constructive feedback to a person in front of their team. Take the time to meet with the individual alone and make the feedback conversation an event that is respectfully personal.

Feedback is essential to individual growth and development. And yet, sometimes we let our fears or reservations of how best to proceed get the best of us, limiting us in holding effective conversations, or we avoid them all together. Taking a few moments to consider the preceding tips will help you deliver feedback more effectively and successfully.

Cues for Connecting with Generation Z

Awhile back I wrote an article detailing ideas for connecting with various generations. As Generation Z is now starting to enter the workforce, I thought it was important to provide some tips for interacting with them as well. Last summer, my two Zs came home from college, and I experienced them in a different way. I couldn’t believe that when I would try to have a serious conversation with one of them that they could hold the conversation with me while interacting on their phone with someone else at the same time. Although I was surprised and somewhat puzzled at the moment, my frustration served to fuel my curiosity about this younger generation.

Although it is unfair to stereotypically categorize a generation with broad sweeping generalizations, I found it helpful to research the common themes that characterize this upcoming and growing generation as they begin to move into the workforce.

A review of what has influenced how they have grown up, their characteristics, and the different ways of establishing connection will hopefully provide you with useful insight

Generation Z: (1995-2019)


This generation grew up with the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and has really never know a time when we were not in some kind of conflict. The occurrence of mass shootings has increasingly made them sensitive to the notion of safety for everyone.

They also lived through the Great Recession of 2008 or what has become known as the US Global Financial Crisis where people lost their personal fortunes and their parents were forced to become more conservative in their spending. Listening to their parents discuss measures they would need to take to provide for their family helped this generation to adopt a more conservative and realistic approach to personal finances.

Generation Z also grew up with a high degree of access to the nternet and technical devices while playing with their parents’ Smartphones, iPods, and tablets. With the creation of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and millions of other apps, these individuals are connected to the Internet every hour of the day.

This generation has also seen a shift in the diversity of the population which has led them to not only be much more open and accepting of diverse cultures and races of people, but also to be more sensitive to other global challenges and problems.


Generation Z’s characteristics are derived from the influences they have experienced.

They are literally tech natives. They are highly connected to any number of applications. Having grown with some form of tech, they pick up the use of technology and its applications very quickly. This has led them to expect instant gratification. They thrive on speed and want what is next as quickly as they can get it. Their tech experience has also shortened their attention span.

Gen Z’s experience with tech has taught them how to process information very rapidly. They tend to be smarter in the ways they solve problems because of the speed with which they assimilate information. However, their reliance on tech to solve problems may stymy their ability to address more complex challenges where information is not immediately available.

They are creative and self-directed as well as very entrepreneurial. They understand how easy it is to use their time and resources to make money. A recent survey identified that 72% of Gen Z would like to be their own boss and start and run their own business. (1)

Because of the many pressures that they face, they often say that they are overwhelmed by the pressure to do well in school, select a career, get into college, save the planet, determine their politics, understand sexual orientation, and combat racism. (2) From my own conversation with my Z-Squad, they said that some of their overwhelmed feelings come because they may try to present a version of themselves on social media that is not true or accurate; consequently, they struggle to find an accurate sense of self as they feel the pressure to succeed and to be what they think they should be.

Their reliance on tech has made them very independent of others. They tend to be more self-directed and tend not be particularly good team players. They lack a group or team orientation because of the familiarity of isolation they experience with social media.

Gen Z is used to having things adapted or customized for them. Whether it is music sold in curated playlists, clothing, the news, on-demand movies, or videos that are offered on YouTube. They are used to having what they consume the way they want it. This is important to remember when thinking about messaging.

Establishing Connections

The ways of establishing meaningful connections with Gen Z is not very different from other generations. Here is a short list of suggestions for connecting with your Zs.

Message concisely. Because they are used to receiving information in short bites, be sure to make your messaging concise. It is also important to give them information quickly and visibly whenever possible. For example, using headings and short text components is much more effective than using longer paragraphs or documents. Make your emails and communications easily accessible and digestible.

Text rather than talk. When I was told this by my Zs, they told me that sometimes talking online was easier and safer because it takes away uncomfortable barriers. However, they also said that they liked one-on-one, face-to-face interactions because of the personal connection that is shared and developed. Take the opportunity to create a personal connection by speaking with them individually. They understand that communication is more than just talking screen to screen, but they like the convenience and accessibility texting/messaging offers.

Be authentic. They appreciate it when people are honest and sincere with them. Being able to be vulnerable and to tell them what you are working on or challenged by will greatly improve your interactions and relationship with them. Likewise, they are very much put off by people who are “fake” or disingenuous. Being authentic is powerful because these younger people are highly influenced by those who care about them.

Ask questions. Be willing to learn about them by asking questions. Look for opportunities to solicit their ideas and thoughts. Doing so will allow you to establish rapport while demonstrating that you care and are concerned for them as individuals and what they have to offerCreating collaborative relationships helps people of different generations to appreciate each other while striving to reach your organizations goals.

Accept individuality. You shouldn’t stereotype them or refer to them by their generation. A lot this has occurred with the millennial generation. It is annoying, unfair, and judgmental. That being said, we should spend more time understanding one another for who we are rather than categorically referring to people as a certain generation which illustrates a “type.”

Build influence. I have already stated that it is important to ask them for their input and ideas. However, you might want to create a mentorship program or assign younger employees to be coached or mentored by more experienced employees on the challenges that they are currently facing. Creating mixed-age project teams is another way to increase collaboration and expedite sharing. These tactics will help to establish rapport while sharing expertise to build individuals’ capacity.

Determine a path for growth. As with any other generation, taking the time to understand what interests a person and helping build a developmental plan for their individual growth speaks volumes about your concern for their success.

It is important to understand how the generational differences may influence how people work together. It is also significant to take specific steps to improv the way you interact and communicate with those who are different from yourself. Taking the time to understand and apply the cues above will help you to connect and create the results you desire with a diverse generational workforce.

(1) Sean McDowell, “9 Important Insights About Generation Z,” Nov. 29, 2016,

(2) Erin Anderssen, “Through the Eyes of Generation Z,” June, 24,2016