Colleagues and friends,
First and foremost, Happy National Bow Tie Day! I trust everyone wore a bow tie today.
Sheesh, last week felt like it lasted a month!
The start of the school year is invigorating, but exhausting at the same time. It seemed like last week was conducted at break-neck speed, with meeting after meeting, and plenty of catch-up on matters that should have been decided or concluded over the summer months. But, in spite of the busyness of the week, it was great to welcome student workers back into the various offices. For me, it was awesome to overhear stories of summer adventures, internships, job and vacations. The return of students always brings a lift in spirits—if not also some added labor.
I hope you felt (or feel) the same lift when your students return home.
A thought I can’t get out of my mind
Last week I started reading Simon Sinek’s book “Leaders eat last: Why some teams pull together and others don’t.” (You may know Sinek from his much shared talk about Millinnials in the workforce). In an early chapter, Sinek writes about a healthy work environment and this passage really stood out to me:
“A supportive and well-managed work environment is good for one’s health. Those who feel they have more control, who feel empowered to make decisions instead of waiting for approval, suffer less stress. Those only doing as they are told, always forced to follow the rules, suffer the most.”
Isn’t this interesting?
This certainly speaks to the idea of empowerment of everyone throughout and organization and reinforces that there may not be only one way to get things done.
Since reading this I’ve thought a lot about “approval” and the perceived burden of approval. Now, I don’t think that Sinek is suggesting that a healthy environment is one in which anything goes. Instead, I think this is an invitation for leaders to hire great people, establish clear expectations and a compelling vision, and then get the hell out of the way.
Three things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)
I ran across the two articles below about Generation Z when I was preparing to introduce new faculty at Augustana to our students. It was important to me to provide a larger context about the students who are on campus and I thought these two short pieces were very good to share for those who are not as familiar with Generation Z.
I also found myself thinking that I spend so much time thinking about Millennials in the workforce, that I have probably not given as much thought to Generation Z. Consider this my new focus.
Are you as focused on Generation Z as you should be? Is the campus where you work? Can you clearly see how difference Gen Z is from Millennials?
I will say that it was really affirming to hear from new faculty members anecdotes affirming that Gen Z is here and really does have a different mindset. Among the things that are not as popular among our new students, according to new faculty, are group projects and first day of class, lengthy, introductions.
Why Generation X Might be Our Last, Best Hope –I did not set out to make write about generations, but Jennie read this article to me while we are a trip and I found it to be very interesting (I suppose because it’s about me and many others who I know in leadership positions). I hope you will find it of interest, too. If you need a little teaser, this excerpt might do the job:
“But it’s become clear to me that if this nation has any chance of survival, of carrying its traditions deep into the 21st century, it will in no small part depend on members of my generation, Generation X, the last Americans schooled in the old manner, the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds.”
Tell me what you think about Gen Xers in leadership. Are they the last hope?
Something for you (and me) to think about
Yesterday at church I served as Assisting Minister and read a passage from Romans, which I think has a lot to do with teamwork. (Romans 12, 4-8)
“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.”
It is indeed all of our gifts and resources that, when combined, make it all work.
P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I add them. I try to get one of these out every Monday.