Tag Archives: Millennial

Servant Leaders are Song Leaders

2016 will be my 40th high school reunion, and as I pondered it, 70’s icons began to flood my mind.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Mork from Ork (Robin Williams for Millennials reading this!) made rainbow-colored suspenders and painter pants wildly popular (yes, I had both). Laugh-In tackled current issues with a cheerful cheekiness that made a silly phrase so popular that even Richard Nixon came on the show to say “Sock it to ME?” nixon

Utter the words “I’d like to teach the world to sing” and baby boomers immediately see people from every nation and every background holding hands in “perfect harmony.” The song immediately becomes an earworm of warm and fuzzy feelings.

smiley-face-1But “have a nice day” and its smiley face icon (the fore bearer of today’s emoji’s) is the most iconic symbol of the 70’s. It was everywhere, conveying a virtually universal desire to bless others with good wishes. This made me ponder what this year’s graduates will look back on in 2056 as the most iconic symbol from their high school years. I am afraid that the odds are way too high that it will be “grumpy cat.”83dad2ee2217ad59e3661e98aea8bb70

It is not just that grumpy cat memes are funny and dominate the Internet, but they really do capture our general grumpiness as a society right now. Hatefulness and obstructionism instead of optimism and solution seeking in national politics have infiltrated local government. Race baiting and name calling is becoming routine discourse. Disagreement has become justification for demonization.

It is not just that we are grumpy and acting out that grumpiness in how we treat other people as a society. We are increasingly accepting as normative ever-more ridiculous explanations by leaders trying to justify mean-spirited and anti-social behavior by themselves and their followers. Somewhere along the way we have equated treating people with dignity and respect with political correctness. The result is a stunning loss of civility.

Authentic servant leaders treat everyone with dignity and respect – especially those they disagree with. Authentic servant leaders nurture compromise more than collision. Authentic servant leaders think more about the next generation than the next election.

It is not just nostalgia that makes me yearn for more servant leaders who want “to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

Ron_H_new
Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

 

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Generations with a Twist – Part Two

In case you missed part one of Generations with a Twist, you can read it here.

Having said all this about generations not being as different and defined in characteristics as people think, it is important to remember that…

generations are heavily influenced by their environment and the events that they have lived through. What goes on around us vastly impacts our perceptions, decisions, understanding, and our culture.

We all have that parent or grandparent who has lived through war and as a result has a heightened sensitivity to not wasting food or who never takes having enough food for granted. For those of us who have lived through economic downturn or times of great economic prosperity – this will influence our behavior and outlook. The Boomer Generation grew up through a time of great economic prosperity, which contributed significantly to the beginning of the “credit obsessed” trend in the U.S. The Boomers became well-known for being highly focused on pursuing material possessions because of the economic prosperity they experienced for much of their lives, at least until 2008.

If we think about other major events in American history – the various wars (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, 1facd3da1eae35d3680ba087d716cc49the Gulf, the Middle East, etc.), man landing on the moon, Pearl Harbor, the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Death of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, etc. – the events that we have lived through have and will continue to impact us all differently, depending on the age that we were when the event occurred. There are people reading this blog post who were young teens when 9/11 occurred, and there are people reading this who were in their 40s. We will have been affected by this event differently because of our age and capacity to comprehend events. The age we are when an event occurs, along with our ability to comprehend such events, shapes our opinions of the world, it shapes our culture, our views on religion, the way we view and understand international affairs and global organizations, our ability to understand alliances, our views on gender equality, etc. Regardless of when we were born, we are all products of our environments and the effects major events have on our lives and on our societies.

In an attempt to consolidate my point above, I am going to tell you the story of where I was when 9/11 occurred. I was september-11th-photoactually eleven years old, about three months shy of my twelfth birthday. Being an Australian, I was living in a small seaside town about one and a half hours outside of Melbourne. I remember waking up in the morning (because of the time difference between our two countries, the planes hitting the World Trade Center actually occurred over night for us Down Under) and walking into my Mom’s room to say goodbye before I headed off to school. She was sitting at her computer (something she never did this this early in the morning). She called me over to show me footage of the planes hitting the towers. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I thought it looked like a scene from another action movie about hit the cinemas. I think my response to my Mom went something like this “OK. Thanks for showing me. I’m off to school.” Ten years down the road, I was now at university. Being a student of international relations and politics, all of my university text books were defined in eras. This is pretty normal as international relations and politics are closely tied to history. All of my books referred to the “pre-9/11 era” and the “post-9/11 era”. As a young adult, I was finally able to understand the gravity of what happened that day back in 2001. This event changed the world. It changed the trajectory of international affairs and foreign policy. It changed the lives of everyone, all over the world. But on the day it happened, I was eleven years old and had no idea. But at the same time, how do we expect an eleven year old to understand an event like this when the biggest thing on our minds is “am I going to pass my math test tomorrow?”

To understand one another, it is vitally important to remember age. Our age, more often than not, defines our ability to understand and comprehend things. If we defined generations by the characteristics they display as children, we would all be one giant generation of sociopaths that completely lack the ability to rationalize. Now, I’m not saying we need to go out and start treating the twenty-somethings of the workplace like children, but the next time you find yourself unable to understand someone from another generation, whether older or younger, remind yourself of their age and their experience and how best to communicate.

Check the 16% on Saturday for the final part of this three-part series!

Marlie2.Web

Written by:
Marlie Eyre
Member Collaboration Manager
governmentresource.com

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