This column is a sequel to my last week’s column. Last week I wrote about the important lessons I learnt from my managers. In this column, I would like to list down the lessons I learnt from my teams. I have worked with youngsters straight out of college, with a couple of years’ experience and those at mid-level. Here are those that are stuck with me, mainly working with team members under 30. (Captured not necessarily in any order or priority.)
- No teaching. No preaching: Try teaching or preaching, and they resent it. They think of you as their teacher at school. Your relationship and harmony will be at risk. What has worked for me better is when I say if I were them, how would I approach a task and why.
- You are not as smart: Every team member I have worked with is certainly better than me. They have had better education, better exposure, and maturity. Hence, it is easy and natural for youngsters to figure things out and quickly.
- Treat them as equals: Some of my team members, those under 27-28 years, did not bother much whether I appreciate their work and whether I give them enough credit for it. They like it when I recognise them as knowledgeable enough to be involved in an activity or discuss work with them as honestly and transparently as possible.
- Challenging attention span: The younger they are, the lesser the attention span. Get to the point quickly. Communicate Pyramid style. Say the most important things first and go down that order.
- Keep your distance: Don’t get too personal. Don’t be too chatty. Many prefer to keep their professional and personal things apart and in compartments. Respect that.
- Loyalty has a different meaning: They are loyal to their job. However, they may not be devoted to the company. There are no strings attached. It makes it easy to move on, should they find the job ‘boring’.
- No fear of failure: They will not buckle under the pressure of performance. They have no fear of failure. A task that goes wrong here or there doesn’t bring down their confidence in their ability.
- No mincing words: If they don’t like something or are not in favour of doing something, they don’t mince words to express their displeasure. It is easy for them to say what they think and move on.
- Ability to put in longer hours: They can and are willing to put in long work hours provided they absolutely love what they are doing. They have high tenacity and commitment levels.
- It’s okay to be unsettled: You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to measure yourself against society’s or someone else’s yardstick.
Confidence, knowledge, attitude, exposure, my team members have had all these going for them. They have the ideal disposition to take ups and downs and success and failure in the right measure. Something to learn and imbibe.
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