Millennials and Gen Z are not a disconnected group of people who only have their sights set on fulfilling their own needs. They are passionate, adventurous, team-oriented, and socially-minded. They grew up learning and studying in teams and expect to work in teams. Hinote and Sundvall, two researchers, show their strengths outweigh their weaknesses, and as leaders, we must harness their creative power, enthusiasm, and ability to work in teams. Team development and group dynamics strategies are people-centered and dramatically affect organizational performance and improve decision making. It promotes democratic, participative management methods. High-performance teams have learned to unlock team power.
One fascinating truth about younger generations is that whether their ethical beliefs lean toward Idealism or Relativism, is that they perform better as individuals and in workgroups, and have fewer ethical workplace violations when led by a Servant Based Leadership model. This is likely because they are more socially aware than their older counterparts.
Some Millennials have even stated that they place their followers and direct reports wellbeing above organizational goals. No matter what ideological category Millennials fall into, they are more likely to be forgiving and overlook ethical violations than other generations. Servant leadership alone can not deal with all of the social constructs of today's workforce. Aspects of other leadership styles are needed. The value systems of each generation were formed in the time and society in which they grew up. Leaders must understand these differences.
One skill set that is needed in addition to understanding Servant-Based Leadership is Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI has its roots in
positive psychology. AI is a practice that requires Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Cultural Intelligence (CI). By exercising AI principles, and using in EI and CI skills, leaders can unlock their team’s power. Six key factors in unlocking the potential of your existing staff and emerging leaders revolve around freedom. America’s culture of freedom is what made our economy the greatest on earth. Liberating the latent power that already exists in our current workforce costs little but may win the future.
In the “Change Handbook,” Cooperrider and Whitney list the six freedom factors for Appreciative Inquiry, (AI) as:
The freedom to be known in respected work relationships.
The freedom to be heard.
The freedom to dream in community.
The freedom to choose to contribute.
The freedom to act with support.
The freedom to be positive.
AI helps free up and use the latent knowledge bottled up in your current staff. Free up your staff by weeding out the negative, build on your strengths, and transform your workplace.
(Brown, Homer, & Isaacs, 2007)
CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
A second is Creative Problem Solving. Creative Problem Solving (CPS) has its roots in marketing and advertising. Alex Osborn, the founder of the Creative Education Foundation, was an advertising executive and created creating thinking and brainstorming. In the 1920s and ‘30s, he and three gentlemen owned the largest advertising agency in the United States, BBDO. You might have heard of it, today it generates over $15 billion in revenue and goes by the name of the Omnicom Group of Companies. CPS uses scientific research and behavioral psychology to create innovative ways to solve problems. Brainstorming was just the first. There are many augmentations and new strategies. Some I’m sure you’ve heard of like SWOT analysis, SMART goal creation, Blue Ocean strategies, and Mind Mapping.
A widely adopted method for high-performance team-building is the FourSight Creative method, which we mentioned earlier in Chapter Six on Transformation Leadership. IBM, NASA, USBank, L'Oréal, Nike, and other mega organizations use this method to assign roles within workgroups in a way that bolsters creativity, innovation, and project success. Its strategy identifies the way employees think and places them into four categories of thinker types; Clarifiers, Ideators, Developers, and Implementers. Armed with this knowledge, leaders can intelligently assign roles within workgroups. The FourSight Creative method is proving to be a game-changer in problem-solving and team performance management.