Responsibility Across Generations – Leadership is a Choice #5

Jessica Soroky continues her series Leadership is a Choice.


Whose Generation?

There has been a break in reality between the baby boomers and Generation X management and the new influx of Generation Y workers about how to be successful in the workplace.

I have become fascinated by generational research, the studies showing how different the world was for each generation and the effects those differences had on character traits. There is a negative perception of the Millennials that I have had to fight since I entered the working world.

Numerous articles and studies have stated that our (Gen Y) expectations of the workplace are unrealistic, that we are entitled and lazy. “We” want team-focused environments with constant feedback in collaborative workspaces not stuck in a cube farm. I have even been to presentations where the entire topic is focused on teaching people how to work with the newer generation and the challenges that come with it.

I came across a post on LinkedIn the other day that posed the question, “Should Millennials (Generation Y) prepare for the workforce or should the workforce prepare for Millennials?

It really got me thinking, my immediate response was to say the workforce is already preparing, company after company is moving to a new progressive atmosphere. There are even consultancy firms that are making money hand over fist selling help in this great generational transformation.

It wasn’t until the following day when I sat in a leadership group and the conversation of generations came up again, this time in the context of responsibility. The question was, “How do we lead Generation Y?” The conversation began to swirl about how things have always been, “why don’t they understand?”

It has become apparent that generations speak very different languages, especially in the workplace. So what if companies, executives, or teams created a common language when it came to problem solving? What if there was a model that applied to all humans no matter the year they were born?

If you have ever read this blog, or are accessing it through Christopher’s website then you are already aware that this model exists. If you have never heard about The Responsibility Process™, I encourage you to take a look with the disclaimer that it will change your life as soon as you choose it!

Here’s a simplified look into generations.  It is based on the idea that all humans have programming based on how, when, and where they were raised. These programs are deeply rooted in us and later become the number one justification to why one can’t get through something.

For instance, the entire first year I was in The Leadership Gift Program, I lived in shame. I had numerous breakthroughs as the year went on but at the root of so many of my problems was shame. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I made the comment, “I was raised to go to Shame, and it’s all I’ve known.”

It became my favorite justification to stop pushing through the problem. I convinced myself I had done “enough” work when I had reached all the way down to my programming.

If every generation is made up of humans who all have their own programming, what if we practiced allowance instead of trying to force our environment or others to change. Can you allow that the individual, no matter what generation they are attached to, is doing the best they can with what they know?

Only after practicing yourself can you introduce The Responsibility Process to your team, department, or company and use it as a catalyst to creating a common language any generation can understand.

As a Millennial that has spent the last 4 years working with more people outside of my generation, than within it, I may be able to offer some insights. For one, the generations aren’t really different at all. I have worked with driven, passionate, hard working people across all of the generations. On the other hand I have worked with lazy, entitled, procrastinators from every generation as well.

It isn’t the time period in which someone is born that defines who they are, only their choices can create that definition.

So how do you work in an environment with multiple generations coexisting?

Start by looking at people as individuals, not as their generational label. Practice personal responsibility, and choose to allow that everyone is doing the best they can with what they know.

I am not a millennial, I am just a human practicing responsibility and choice every chance I get.


Jessica Soroky, CSM

IMG_3285Jessica is a Certified Scrum Master with over three years of practice in agile delivery and seven years of team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Responsibility on 03/22/2015 06:15 pm
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