Monthly Archives: April 2012

Why are you doing that? Why are you taking responsibility?

I love the transformational results of my work. It is one of the main reasons I am a corporate trainer, speaker and coach. When I share my experiential knowledge I know that is what I am here for.

I am here to help people to communicate better and become better managers and leaders.

I get a thrill when I see the lightbulbs go off as people connect the dots while learning something new.

I’ve recently noticed a trend in my seminar attendees. Often there are more Gen Y in the audience. A recent poll revealed that 65% of my audience is Gen Y. They see things differently and process the content in their own unique way.

As I considered what to write for this blog post, I concluded that sharing a few of my recent experiences will bring some of the generational differences in the age of social media into the light. So here are a few.

1. I don’t want to hear you so I will put my fingers in my ears until you finish

Personality differences cause us to process information in our own way. Some like the direct approach, some like stories. Others like the people approach and still others want impirical data.

A man in the front row of one seminar literally put his fingers in his ears whenever an audience member shared personal experience. Noting this, I pulled him aside and questioned the practice. He told me that hearing people talk about their experience really troubled him and he always does that in seminars. He was surprised that I noticed as previous speakers did not.

After our discussion, he made a concerted effort to listen and participate. Later he too shared with us and opened up to the group.

2. It’s a mental health day. I just can’t take those people anymore

One of my exercises includes evaluation of an employee who called in sick and then tweeted from the beach. The baby boomers were pretty unanimous in their feeling that this is stealing time from the employer and the employee should apologize and promise not to do it any more.

A Gen Y woman became very incensed as she responded “this is a mental health day.” The employee should tell the manager “I just can’t take these people anymore and I took a mental health day.” She never did understand what the problem is with calling in sick and tweeting from the beach.

“Maybe she really was having fun at the beach, and why is her manager checking her tweets anyway?”

3. Why are you doing that? Why are you taking responsibility?

One manager shared with me that a Gen Y person in her company only does the tasks she feels like doing. Tasks are delegated to her and her response is to only do the ones or the parts she likes. She simply ignores the rest.

When others step up to get the job done (because it has to get done) the young lady asks her “why are you doing that? Why are you taking responsibility?” She actually does not understand why others step up.

She is still working there. For some reason, the company allows her to do only the tasks she wants to do.

4. Few Gen X workers want to be a manager

A recent article in Hemispheres Magazine titled “Who Wants to Be a Manager” mentioned a surevy by Office Team a California outfit that specializes in job placement which found that 76% of employees have no interest in gaining their manager’s job.

“If I think about the times I’m happiests, it’s never about a customer. It’s always related to vacations, and family and friends” said David.

With their commitment to work/life balance the younger generation is less focused on spending all their time in the office.

These four examples are just a few musings about the generational differences in today’s corporate environment. The lines have blurred, the new corporate citizens have a different mindset. So in order to remain sustainalble in an economy where China and India have many outsourced jobs, American employers may have to rethink how to lead, motivate, invigorate, and lead the new generation.

Please share your comments and stories regarding this blog post. I look forward to hearing from you.


Known as a highly effective teacher, public speaker, and communicator, Yvonne F. Brown has taught seminars on team building, leadership, communication, & management in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Yvonne is proficient in a variety of management topics, including interpersonal, organizational, and intercultural communications, conflict management skills, and helps employees with their career growth.
If you would like to connect with Yvonne you can follow her on Facebook, see her in action on YouTube, network with her on LinkedIn or via her corporate fan page JAD Communications
Listen to her radio show at Blog Talk Radio