Generational views in the workplace – a conversation worth having?

The world is changing. Perhaps more than usual, perhaps the same amount as always. The greatest challenge for us socially is to understand the views of others, especially the views of other generations or other cultural or social groups. My view is that that this has been the same for all of time. We battle to really understand someone else’s experience when it is so different from our own. Generation to generation is an easy one to look at, each one feeling like their experience was the “right” one or the “more enriched”. And each generation finds it hard to connect to the experience of the next.

Today, we have new layers again. New ways people identify, or don’t identify, new ways people would like to be experienced and heard. I’m starting to see these issues arise in businesses and boardroom level discussions about equality. I recently listened to the amazing podcast series on “The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling” which was largely about perception and views and being seen and heard. There was no clear right or wrong in my mind, other than everyone’s intentions seemed to be in a good place, (mostly). We are all just doing what we think we should to defend what in our view is “right”

My deepest hope is that we can move through these discussions in society, and in the workplace, with compassion. If we accept that we do not have all the answers, and that we cannot always sit a place of right and wrong, then our best choice is to listen completely and openly to other people’s experience. Remembering that letting go of the belief that our experience is the only possibility for truth, we may just allow enough compassion in to move into a place of true acceptance and equality.

But how does this contribute to a discussion about high performance?

As a starting point, these conversations are representative of a wider cultural experience. They are reflective of what we are all living outside of work, so they will evidently make their way into the workplace.  If we shut them down, refuse to see them or hear them, we are shutting down a truly authentic and fully engaged workplace opportunity. High performance becomes a habit we live in all parts of our lives and is far more likely to become a way of living if we implement it both inside and outside of work.

Secondly, if we don’t find a way to have these conversations, then the workplace becomes a place where we cannot be truly ourselves, and we hold back our greatest inspirations, innovation becomes smothered, and we miss a great opportunity to grow. Sometimes we term this “psychological safety”, which simply means a place where we can say what we think without fear of being cut down or shamed. It is essential for a truly high performing workplace to have such an environment.

Finally, high performance begins with culture. If your culture is not one where people can speak openly and safely, that culture will never thrive. The building blocks of a high performing culture come from people feeling they can contribute to the experience, and even if they are disagreed with, they are welcomed to and encouraged to share their perspective, however they identify.

We love talking culture and values, the underpinnings of any high performing workplace. Join us on a live linked in call each month to dig around in this and many other topics.