Category Archives: Gifts and Strengths

Six Ways To Lead On A Multi-Generational Team

There is rarely a time that generational challenges don’t emerge in my leadership workshops or coaching sessions. The comments and concerns range from:

“Why can’t they have the same work ethic as we do?”

“Why are they so fixated on their phones and technology?”

“Why can’t they be more open to new ideas and different strategies?”

“Why can’t they see the value in a flexible workplace?”

“Why is work/life balance so scary to them?”

I am sure you have heard these same perspectives in your organization and may be wondering why we all can’t come together. Some even believe that if we just focus on the individuals that the generational differences will dissolve.

Which is it? Do we really have generational divides or are we just making too much of this issue? My answer to that is: A little of both.

Six ways to lead on a multi-generational team:


While it is never a good idea to create or perpetuate stereotyping, it is helpful to consider the different generational work ethics and behaviors. Whether we want to accept it or not, technology has changed the way we go about working and that has allowed more flexibility in our organizations. Whether we used technology later in our careers or it has been part of our entire life, it has impacted the speed of work and how we go about tackling our projects. Yet technology cannot provide institutional wisdom and knowledge that can propel younger generations forward with clients and office politics.


It’s all about the partnership and dreaming together in formation- knowing exactly where you are going. When working on a multi-generational team, make sure there is a clear vision and it is shared system wide.

  • Include all generations in building that vision
  • Ask for input
  • Listen for possibilities never considered
  • Write it out clearly and put it front and center


Just as a vision steers the way, values help us make clearer and consistent decisions. Core values help the different generations come together for a common language and spirit. One way to make better decisions in times of ambiguity is to look at your values and test out each decision or action against them.


Each generation may have varying strengths and talents but in order for a team to be high performing, it is critical to leverage those gifts. Studies show that developing an individual’s strengths is way more impactful than spending too much time on their weaknesses. Once we recognize one another’s expertise, then learn from each other. Reverse mentoring is an extraordinary way to grow our leadership.


As with any new skill or knowledge obtained, practice using it.

  • Set up mentoring relationships that go across generations where each is a mentor and each is a mentee
  • When you see a new behavior being used in the workplace give that person a “way to go”
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be afraid not to try
  • Ask for honest and respectful feedback


Generations are made up of individual people who are all unique and special. Never pigeon hole anyone but instead delve deeper to see their value and help them cultivate stronger leadership strategies.

How do you lead on a multi-generational team?

(Credit image: FlickrCC-Richard Foster)

What Happens If A Leader’s EQ Is Low?

Being a strong leader involves being an effective relationship builder. To develop meaningful connections with others we need to have the ability to read our own emotions accurately as well as recognize the emotions in our team members, colleagues and networks. In fact, some of us are so unaware of how we may be feeling in a particular situation that it is very difficult to respond appropriately to actions or behaviors we see. And then what happens? We do something or say something that we wish we hadn’t done or said.

Has this ever happened to you? So many of the leaders I partner with face this challenge daily either because they or the… Continue reading | 4 Comments

Four Reasons Leaders Need To Avoid Labels

Labels were part of my upbringing. I say that because in my family each child was given a label to describe their abilities or personality. One of us was the baker and dramatic. One of us was pushy and a guitar player. One of us was an ice skater and not an academic. And crazy as it may seem, we lived up to those descriptions. They became us and we became them. It’s a very interesting phenomenon, that if we are told that we should behave or act in a certain way or that we are talented or not so capable, we tend to gravitate towards those depictions. We even create a narrative about who we… Continue reading | 11 Comments

Seven Critical Leadership Rituals

Rituals are important to the survival of any organization as they contribute to the unique culture of a workplace. Rituals can mean honoring our co-workers’ birthdays with cards that everyone signs and a special birthday cake or making Wednesday “Bagel Day” for the firm. Some teams embrace the ritual of a monthly Happy Hour to connect with everyone in a less formal setting while other teams support a “Field Day” filled with outdoor activities to get to know one another better. Whatever the ritual, to feel part of our work worlds we honor those routines and behaviors.

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While Your Dream Job Is Still Evolving

Let’s face it; many of us are continually in search for that perfect job or career. We aren’t totally unhappy where we are now, but we also aren’t feeling completely fulfilled in our professional choices. We listen enviously as some of our colleagues and friends share their work stories with passion and excitement. We wonder if we will ever find that magical place. Some of these leaders are new to their careers while others have been in their jobs for many years. It doesn’t matter how long we have been in our jobs if something is missing or just doesn’t meet the expectations we might have.

These past few weeks I have heard many… Continue reading | 6 Comments