Flipping diversity into inclusiveness

Flipping diversity into inclusiveness

By Dr Patrick Sweet, Geneva Leadership Alliance Co-Director

After a 7 year study of the ‘myths’ of working with millennials, Dr Jennifer Deal at the Center of Creative Leadership brings into view key understandings and practices to help you lead inclusively across generations and from different cultures. 

  • People of different generations actually share values. Many people think there are enormous differences in values between older and younger people. However, CCL’s research has proven that different generations actually have fairly similar values. “Family” is the value chosen most frequently by people of all generations. Other shared values included integrity, achievement, love, competence, happiness, self-respect, wisdom, balance, and responsibility.
  • Everyone wants respect. We often hear that younger people are disrespectful of older employees, or people in authority. We also hear complaints that older people show no respect for younger talent and ideas. The reality is that everyone, in every group, generation, tribe or culture wants respect — they just don’t define it in the same way.
  •  Trust matters. By and large, people of all generations and at all levels trust the people they work with directly — such as bosses, peers, and direct reports — more than they trust their organizations or people they have less familiarity with. So take time to help your team get familiar with each other on a personal level.
  • Everyone wants credible, trustworthy leaders. What do different generations, and different cultures ideally expect from their leaders? People want their leaders to be credible. To be trusted. To listen well. To be farsighted, and to be encouraging. Everyone. No exceptions.
  • Office politics is an issue, no matter your age or background. Everyone is concerned about the effects of organizational politics on their work and career. We all want to be recognized for the work we do. We want to and have access to the resources we need. We recognize that politics matters, yet we hope that it matters less. Transparency and sensitivity really goes a long way, here.
  • Nearly everyone is uncomfortable with change, to some degree. Resistance to change has nothing to do with age and little to do with a specific culture, and much to do with one’s personal experience; it mostly about how much someone has to gain or lose with the change.
  • Loyalty depends on the context. CCL research shows that younger generations are no more likely to job-hop than older generations were at the same age. The perception that older people are more loyal is, in fact, associated with context, not age. For example, people who are closer to retirement are more likely to want to stay with the same organization for the rest of their working life, and people higher in an organization work more hours than do people lower in the organization.
  • It’s as easy to retain a young person as it is to retain an older one — if you do the right things. Just about everyone feels overworked and underpaid. People of all generations have the same ideas about what their organization can do to retain them. Employees want room to advance; respect and recognition; better quality of life; and fair compensation.
  • Everyone wants to learn — more than just about anything else. Learning and development were among the issues most frequently mentioned by study participants of all the generations surveyed. Everyone wants to make sure they have the training necessary to do their current job well. They are also interested in what they need to be learning to get to the next level in their organization.
  •  Almost everyone wants a coach. Good, quality feedback is highly valued, and rare. People of all generations and backgrounds seek it. But in different ways.

Dr. Patrick Sweet is Co-Director of the Leadership Alliance. Dr. Sweet was regional director for Northern Europe at the Center for Creative Leadership responsible for advanced leadership development programs in the region in close collaboration with EMEA CCL teams. He brings 20 years of programmatic business, organisational and leadership development to the Alliance.

Dr. Sweet has been co-lead in several EU funded programs focused on innovation and leadership, was European Developmental Lead for Korn-Ferry International’s European implementation of leadership assessment tools developed by Dr. Sweet’s company, and has coached, consulted and trained in Talent Management and Leadership Development with international, regional, governmental and non-governmental organisations in Europe for 20 years, and in the U.S. prior to this. His Ph.D. is in Business Economics from Lund University, Sweden, with doctoral and graduate studies at the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dr. Sweet is a U.S. and Swedish national. He migrated to Stockholm, Sweden, where he is based, from the U.S. in 1995 and is fluent in Swedish & English, with reading proficiency in Norwegian.