When was the last time you were in a restaurant when people were actually having a conversation?
Recently, my husband I went out for an evening of dinner and a movie. As my husband studied the menu, I engaged in my one of my favorite pastimes – people watching.
As I looked around the restaurant I noticed three things:
- First, everyone was younger than us. They were either Generation X or Millennials.
- Second, almost everyone in the restaurant was on some type of electronic device.
- Third, there was very little conversation taking place.
As we ate our meal, I continued to observe the dinning habits of the various patrons. The couple in the booth next to us were talking however it was about something posted on social media. Another couple was posting a selfie of themselves.
One family of four, two parents and two children, were each on their mobile devices. One child was playing a game on a tablet, the parents were on their phones, and the other child was playing on a hand-held game system. When their dinner arrived, the father continued to engage with his phone.
As I reflected on my observations, I wondered how technology has changed the way we communicate at home and in the workplace. Mobile technology entrepreneur Jeff Corbin said, “as the workplace evolves and millennials continue to comprise the vast majority of the workforce, the importance of communicating and engaging with employees has never been more important”.
Millennial’s are accustomed to instantaneous communication. “Whether its texting, Snapchat, email or Facebook, they have come to expect immediate gratification,” says Corbin.
So, what does that mean for millennials as they assume leadership roles? Well, they will need to expand their communications tool kit… Why? Because we work with a diverse group of individuals in the workforce.
Millennials must listen to the people they lead to determine the best way to communicate with them. While upgrading business technology is important, it should not replace face-to-face communication.
There is no one-size-fits all solution to effective communication. As millennials assume leadership roles, their ability to communicate will determine their effectiveness in engaging others. Leaders must be sensitive to needs of all team members.
As millennial leaders master understanding their audience, being visible and personal, practicing active listening, and being proactive, they will achieve personal and organizational success.
Are your communications skills ready for leading a diverse workforce?
Dr. Kim Moore, your guide to leading with confidence!
Kim D. Moore
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