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Lessons from a Gen-Z'er

When you see one of your offspring express respect for your work, act cool and save the celebration for a later time... like when you're alone.

Every parent who has been through the "teenage years" with a child knows that their transition into adulthood happens at your expense.

Even if you were that child's hero their entire life up to that point, when they become a teenager, you will most likely become the most ignorant and embarrassing person to have ever lived on the planet in the history of all humans of all time. Or, if you're lucky... you simply become the dumbest person in the room.

I went through this with both of my kids to a very small extent. I call myself one of the "lucky ones" because, while I'm positive my kids DID feel this way about me at times, they were kind enough to at least keep their thoughts to themselves (and all of social media).

There were very few "blow ups," slammed doors and silent treatments at my home during those years. No one ran away, was kicked out, went to jail or went to live "on a friend's couch." It still hurt though when I realized my superhero status was replaced by "Chad" and "Becky" down the street.

Now that we have passed that stage in my home and both of my kids are in their 20s, they've come back around "to the dark side" and are past the phase where they think I'm the dumbest person in the room. And I joyfully wallow in every hint of admiration they bestow upon me.

Case in point... my son is in his early 20s and early in his career. However, he's smart enough to know that he has to start at the ground floor and work his way up the ladder to get to the role that he hopes to achieve someday.

Recently, he was telling me about a spike in turnover at his work, and he said,

"They (management) are going to have to do better at making people want to stay here now. Money isn't the only thing that motivates people. They're just making it too easy for them to leave."

Of course, I went all "DIY Leader" on him and whatnot and added that, "Yes. Since the rest of the world has had to introduce remote work options, NO ONE has to put up with less-than-desirable work environments anymore. The job market is literally global and people are no longer limited to jobs in their immediate vicinity. They can quit their job in New York on Tuesday, be employed by a company in California by Friday and working in their PJs from home on Monday."

And then, he choked up, looked at me with obvious admiration and respect in his eyes and... he agreed!

Actually, I think his exact words were more along the lines of, "Tru Dat," or "Word," or whatever word the kids are saying these days to represent, "overwhelming respect and admiration for this amazing human being who has graced me with such a profound and prolific life lesson."

Point being, he was impressed with words that came out of my mouth.

It was a proud Mama moment for me because he also just exhibited the mindset of a GREAT people leader! Whether he ever wants to lead people is beside the point. It's good enough to me knowing the potential is there.

The fact that he even cares about people leaving is impressive enough. But that he realizes people are also motivated by things other than money... pretty sure he'll be President someday.

  • A sense of well-being at work.

  • Having pride in what they do.

  • Helping others.

  • Career growth opportunities.

  • Being appreciated.

  • Being heard.

  • Being included.

  • Being recognized for a job well done.

These are some of the intangibles that GREAT leaders keep in their toolbelts to motivate their employees and "inspire the best in others."

And they're all free.

The ROI of this approach to leadership is evidenced by an increase in employee loyalty, productivity, innovation and engagement. All of which ultimately add to the bottom line in an impactful way.

Why every people-leader on the planet isn't employing this type of leadership style is beyond me.

Maybe my Gen Z'er will explain it to me someday.

Please visit my website at Like and share this post to show your support for the #LeadershipReform movement, which aims to renovate toxic leaders by installing a "people first" foundation.

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