“Are there any companies or leaders that understands my needs as a millennial?” “Are there any people entering today’s workplace that don’t need babysitting?” Generational tensions are a reality in today’s workplace, but there is cause for hope.
The dissonance created by the juxtaposition of the above questions couldn’t be greater.
One was asked by an eager millennial. The other by an older supervisor. Both questions were posed to a Christian business consultant friend of mine by two employees in the same company he was working with, on the same day!
It is impossible to evade the intergenerational tensions that exist in today’s workplace.
I, like my friend Jeff mentioned above, have heard many similar “frustration vents” voiced by both sides of the generational continuum. Unfortunately, many times they are offered with a tone of disdain toward the values and worldview held by the other.
My intent in this post isn’t to offer a 7 or 10-step solution to eradicate intergenerational tensions in the workplace, or to paint a picture of how 100% alignment among multi-generations in the workforce is possible, because it’s not.
It is simply to provide hope and a “real-time” example of the masterful plan our Creator has purposed for us to leverage our differences (generational and otherwise) through aTale of a Mentor and a Millennial.
What is to follow in italics is a non-edited version of a LinkedIn post by a new millennial friend of mine, for whom I have great respect. His name is Clint Jasperson, and it is used by permission.
“A Tale of a Mentor & a Millennial”
“Earlier this week I made a post about realizing a new paradigm in business and celebrating that success. Ironically a couple days later I experienced a new paradigm of self-disappointment, shame, and embarrassment.
In short, I missed a breakfast with a recently acquainted professional and personal mentor. This happened not once, but 2 days in a row at the same time and place, due to me mistakenly setting my alarm. Ouch.
In both instances, the shame, guilt, and embarrassment created a physical response as my stomach turned when I realized what happened. Thoughts ran through my head “I should have… How could I…, etc.”
Of course, I wanted to apologize but what can someone say in this situation? It took me an hour just to have the courage make the apology.
I received a response that shocked me. To paint a picture, the man I was meeting is older than 60, an incredibly accomplished attorney, and has many commitments and opportunities to commit his time. His response…
“How could we, whom Christ has forgiven so much, fail to look past such a trivial inconvenience. Let me check my schedule and check back with you.”
I teared up; my heart cracked open. Suddenly, a little boy inside of me wondered where I learned to be so hard on myself. I felt like I had the opportunity to heal a wound I didn’t even know existed.
The compassion and grace this man showed me is truly inspiring. To be honest, I am not sure I would have responded the same way if the roles were reversed.
Why am I sharing this with you?
1. This man made a profound impact on my life…
…and I want to encourage others, specifically older men, that you have a greater impact than you probably realize on younger men.
I can tell you my character was sharpened and strengthened by this man’s response to my mistake. And I want to point out,
it was through kindness and not achievement that the lesson was made. (bold emphasis added).
I will never forget it. How would you have responded? It matters. I know my default response is Achievement.
2. I think part of my role in all of this is to show humility, and fallibility.
That in spite of accomplishing some great things professionally, I continue to make mistakes. For these reasons and more, I am grateful I have a relationship with Christ, because it helps me get in touch with my fallibility and the lessons that exist there.
3. Its moments like these that reaffirm my belief that we need more faith (more Why) in our workplace and relationships.
As someone that helps people manage their wealth and finances, I have seen it many times where someone acquires much financial success but seems to have lost their humanity along the way living an empty and unkind existence.
Money just amplifies the character of the person acquiring it.
The men and women that retain their compassion, kindness, and grace through it all seem to have a common denominator: a belief system in a higher power and relationship with their creator.
Just my two cents.
Thank you Lord for these mistakes and the angels and lessons you’ve placed in my life to help me along my journey. I remain forever in your debt.
What an amazing story huh? What does Clint’s transparent confession stir in your heart?
Here are some of what it stirs in mine.
1. A deeper longing to be proactively engaged in God’s Masterful discipleship / mentoring plan.
Read more here in a previous post entitled “An Old Geezers Biblical Perspective on Working With and Learning from Other Generations” based on God’s intergenerational instruction plan found in Titus 2.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)
2. We must not forget the sins we’ve been forgiven.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” ~ Luke 7:47 (NIV)
How long has it been since you made a mental list of all that God has forgiven you and then basked in the joy of that forgiveness before Him? Unless we do so regularly, we can’t do what comes next.
3. Sometimes the right, transforming response is simple grace and forgiveness.
“He who covers over an offense promotes love.” ~ Proverbs 17:9 (NIV)
4. Acceptance of others is a MUST, and the influential power of a life surrendered to Christ cannot be underestimated!
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself…
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. ~ Romans 15:1-3a, 7 (NIV)
5. Much of business really isn’t about business, but about the relational development opportunities afforded through it.
If the above story was refreshing and inspiring for you, you might also enjoy another post of a young millennial blogger I follow, entitled 10 Confessions of a Millennial to Older Leaders.
Continue the Conversation:
- What does Clint’s transparent confession stir in your heart?
I’d love for you to leave your comment here and/or share your responses to this Tipping Point via the social share tabs below.
Dan Anderson, President/CEO of KWM
Chuck Colson once said, “Christians are called to redeem entire cultures, not just individuals.”
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