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What does it take to be a leadercommunicator?

The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

The leadercommunicator blog is instructive, entertaining, and a must-read for leaders, communicators, and leadercommunicators.

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Is Your New Employee a Digital Native?

  
  
  
  
  
  

digital nativesLast month, Encyclopedia Britannica announced it would stop printing its famous reference guide that shaped how so many of us see the world and collect information. I can still remember spending hours poring over volume after volume of the encyclopedia in my school library as I wrote research papers on the Spanish Armada and the Great Earthquake.

Millennials had a very different experience. They are the first generation to grow up in the information age. Many new employees entering the workforce have always had constant access to information – they are true digital natives.

Technology and the internet have shaped who they are, what they view as important and how they function.

They focus on several things at once (such as listening to music while they work), they’re almost always accessible and they’re used to having options in their lives. 

Through their experiences, digital natives bring many upsides workplace. They:

  • Are comfortable leveraging new digital tools and using technology in new ways
  • Adapt quickly, so they are good candidates to pilot new processes and help streamline technological transitions
  • Multi-task well and tend to be good at juggling multiple tasks and projects
  • Can effectively – and efficiently – navigate information

At the same time, digital natives rely heavily on technology to communicate, 24/7. In addition to the challenge many of us face in unplugging from work, this means they may not have had the opportunity to practice verbal communication skills in business situations. As leaders, we can teach them about the benefits of face-to-face communication and tap them to help us better navigate new technologies.

To engage digital natives – like a member of any audience – you need to understand where they’re coming from and what motivates them. The ideas and values they hold are neither good nor bad; they just are. We can learn a lot from them; they can learn from us.

What lessons have you learned from digital natives on your team, and what lessons have you passed on to them?

-David Grossman

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Comments

What I have learned from a digital native is that there are wonderful conversations happening in social media channels, and we need to embrace them. It is important to remember it is a conversation, so be conversational. 
 
What I brought to them is balance. Over-stressing social media channels will make people roll their eyes. Show the value, but don't trumpet it. 
 
Thanks! 
 
Jon
Posted @ Wednesday, May 02, 2012 6:16 AM by Jon Mertz
I couldn't agree more Jon.  
 
There's an interesting study that people who didn't grow up using computer systems and the internet, may be more slowly to pick up on non-verbal hints such as facial expressions, tones of voice, and gestures.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 02, 2012 9:34 PM by Emily
Emily and Jon, thanks for sharing. I agree that there is much we can learn from Millennials and that we in turn can share some principles from our experiences. Emily, which study are you referring to? I’d enjoy reading it. Thanks, David.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 3:25 PM by David Grossman
One downside of reliance on technology in the workplace is that it can promote knee-jerk reactions and responses. I try to guide my younger staff in the usefulness of thinking and planning before responding or proposing. In return, I (a typical baby boomer)learn from them how to be faster on my feet, and how to become more comfortable working virtually.
Posted @ Thursday, May 10, 2012 1:40 PM by Jane Evans
Jane, it is great to hear examples of how generations can learn from each other, thanks for sharing your experience.
Posted @ Friday, May 11, 2012 4:57 PM by David Grossman
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