Be honest – how many of you have a sticky note covering the camera on your laptop?
Even if you don’t, I’ll bet half your team does…or wishes they could!
My husband is one of those “sticky note” people. I got used to being “video on” during meetings. It’s 2nd nature to our kids!
So what’s going on? Why do some of us prefer video on, and some can’t stand it?
Some of it is personality based. But part of the difference is generational.
If you’re not familiar with generational preferences, let me explain what I’m talking about.
I attended a project management presentation a few years ago on communication between the generations. I always knew that people in different age groups sometimes struggle to communicate with each other…I just didn’t know why.
This speaker taught us that not only is it the technology that shapes each generation’s communication style and preference, but the social norms, political environment, and economic realities during our formative years.
A really high level overview of the impact on generational attitudes toward work and career:
- Baby Boomers grew up in the post-war era that supported both economic and population growth. They expect, and were rewarded for, hard work, loyalty, and following the direction of management
- GenX was the first to have widespread 2-income households, plus economic unrest, so they tend to overwork and worry about job security
- Millennials were shaped by 9/11 and value freedom and family over job security. They don’t expect loyalty from their employer
- Gen Z grew up with absolute access to technology and doesn’t know what life was like before 9/11 – they live on-line and accept the security risks (and mitigations) as part of life
When you are leading your project, you’ll likely have people representing all 4 generations. And each reacts to your leadership in different ways.
For example, if you’re a new PM working with folks who have been with the same company for their entire career, it might be a struggle for them to take direction from someone who may be the youngest team member.
On the other hand, if you are a seasoned PM and your team has a lot of brand new college graduates, they may view your role as too dictatorial.
How do we work together?
The next time you have a meeting, consider not just what your message is, but how you are conveying it. If you find it difficult to reach a particular stakeholder, maybe it’s a simple generational-mismatch.
Once you know this, you can learn how to adapt. Because clear communication leads to success for both your project – and you!
…and remember that not everyone is comfortable being on camera, no matter how easy it is these days.