Multi-Generational Leadership Is Possible!

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and leadership, and have the cultural mindset to embrace the needed diversity of the workplace.

Today’s guests are Brad Karsh, the Founder of JB Training Solutions and Jill Kopanis, the Vice President of Human Resources at Dynamic Dies, Inc. To hear the entire show, find it on the TalentTalk Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes and Player FM.


Multi-Generational Leadership Is Possible!

Brad Karsh leadership

Founder of JB Training Solutions, Brad Karsh enjoys public speaking and presents skill training all around the globe. JB Training Solutions offers a Manager and Leader suite of programs on how to work with different generations.

Brad’s company’s goal is to be “chalant”. We have all heard of nonchalant but Brad sees that by being chalant you are encouraging engagement and focus to get projects or meet goals before deadlines. Brad shares a story of what some may call road rage of intentions and task accomplishment. All the members of a team are responsible and able to make the project happen together in a timely manner that has set goals, intention, and an intensity that shows a client how important that project was.

Companies will struggle if they don’t have great leaders that individuals can look up to. People do leave because of managers. Employees do an excellent job but when the management comes by and makes that person a manager, it may not mean that they are a great leader. Brad’s training also focuses on improving manager skills for multi-generational workplaces. The key is to recognize what each management style can bring to the table for the benefit and understanding of the whole group.

Management styles have been changed by current generations in the workplace. Millennials are currently managers and leaders in the workplace. There are fascinating ways millennials manage. They manage collaboratively. Millennials grew up with clubs, teams, group sports and projects. They are comfortable in these groups and so they take their role of manager into this style. It is different than what it used to be. Bridging generations in leadership it is very important for each generation group to understand that they all can approach it differently and be open to the fact that the process can take time. Compromise between decision making can take time between the generations so timelines can be used. Older models of leadership can still be used, such as command and control, but it needs to be established and expectations known within the group.  Millennials are not worse; they are not better, they are just different than what came before.


Use your human resources, and not just the Human Resources Department.

Jill Kopanis leadership

Jill is the Vice President of Human Resources at Dynamic Dies, Inc. Jill has worked in Human Resources for 17 years and does a lot of national speaking on leadership skills and employee engagement.  One of the challenges for Jill in her leadership history was making HR a strategic partner as HR is not always seen as a part of that strategic team. Her advice is to get into those meetings and take one challenge at a time and make it strategic, and before too long you will be in all those meetings an expected to help guide the plan. “It is a process and it will take several years, but it’s one step at a time” says Kopanis “once you have that foundation then I can start doing major projects”.

When medical coverage started to skyrocket, she considered the company’s culture and in turn created a successful HR program by informing staff and creating a way to control their healthcare cost. They provided meetings to feed employee the facts and let them know of the problem at hand.  They engaged the employees and had them solve the problem with us and in turn had a $4 million savings.

It is vital to get the employees and teams engaged and talking about the right problems. Bringing these together it is also important to remember that established groups and patters mean that sometimes you have the blinders. If you engage your employees in a process they haven’t been in before then they are willing to try and it might work that time. They can come up with new things that because others have been involved for so long they have blinders on and are only focused on one or a few ways.

Engagement is not a buzz word, survey, or single program. It is a culture. “Managing only for profit is like playing tennis with your eye on the scoreboard and not the ball” says Jill. Engagement must be driven by the leadership. Leaders need to reinforce and support the engagement. Then they can start to reach out to employees. Jill suggests that we stop calling it “Employee Engagement” because we have unintentionally segregated the leadership out of it. Companies need to focus on the leaders so they realize it starts with them and then they can reinforce it with their employees.

Jill also wants to bring the focus of responsibility to the management level instead of only relying on HR for recognition and onboarding. There is a stronger relationship that can be made when the direct leader communicates these type of programs and processes with their staff. There are also unique styles of rewards that companies need to be consistent with. You must know your staff and how they react with motivation rewards. Jill shares a remarkable story about “A Brick and A Buck”, a simple form of recognition that had a significant impact.

What book are you reading?  Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry