People try to put us… d-down. Wait. Is that the way Gen X talks to Millennials? Or is it what Baby Boomers really think about Gen Z?
It’s actually a line from The Who’s iconic “My Generation.” But those bandmates had it so easy. They only had to sing about ONE generation. Today, we’re sharing an office (or a Zoom room) with five different generations. So, how can business leaders find some common ground and empower our teams to thrive amidst all this generational chaos?
We wanted to find out, so we asked an expert to join our Marketing Gets Real podcast. Meet Hana Jacover. She’s an entrepreneur. She’s a leadership coach (International Coaching Federation-certified!). She’s a marketing pro. And she’s the mom to an adorable five-and-a-half year old.
Hana is also a proud Millennial. And when we teamed her up with our Gen X co-hosts Cari and Dana, it created nearly an hour of pure podcast gold. A few memorable moments from their authentic discussion.
“I hated working for women when I was younger in my career because they were b*tches.”
Cari gets things rolling by talking about her early career path, when she felt like her female bosses were so difficult to work for. “Looking back, I understand why they were doing that,” she says. “We were talked over. We were ignored. Our opinion didn’t matter because we were just young women. I recognize now that some of the bosses I had… were just trying to have their voice heard.”
The landscape changed by the time Dana joined the workforce, but challenges remained, including women who tried to get ahead by putting down other women. “It’s sad to me when we see it, because you still see it now,” she says. “At this point in our careers can we just lift each other up?”
To move forward and create more inclusive workplaces for women of all generations, Hana says we need to do more than “hold hands and march forward.” “It’s our responsibility to make the chairs, make the space, elongate the table, whatever we need to do,” she says. “But everyone sitting around is not your competition. They’re not the ones blockading you from your success. It’s a much larger, bigger, systemic thing.”
“External hype fades. It is not real. So it’s that fire within you that will get you where you want to be in your personal and professional life.”
There’s an intentional reason why Hana named her coaching business Hype House and her podcast The Hype Within. “It’s all about developing inner hype and exploring what it means to be so confident in knowing who you are and what you bring to the table,” she says.
It’s a message she shares with leaders from all generations who are looking to improve their skills. “Often we see people thrown into a position where they’re leading others, but they don’t have this ‘leading self’ thing figured out,” Hana says. For younger leaders, discovering self awareness includes building their capacity for emotional intelligence and practicing self reflection.
Leaders all share a desire to move initiatives forward within their companies. But on the way, they often forget a key ingredient: Trust. When leaders stop focusing on what has to happen next and instead focus on building a foundation of trust, “it unlocks a different path for people,” Hana says.
“Let’s tie some diversity initiatives to your actual compensation.”
As the discussion turns to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), Hana has some bold thoughts. “First of all, it’s still really bad,” she says. “We want to say we’re [making a lot of progress], but sadly, we’re not.” She points out, for example, that women are still getting paid less than men, and the amount of funding going to Black founders (well under 1% in Q3 2023) is still “disgusting.”
How do we start making real progress? “Put your money where your mouth is,” Hana says. “Look at the data, [see] what’s actually happening with diverse and underrepresented groups in your organization, and [consider] how can you elevate those people into higher positions where they’re getting paid what they’re worth.”
Leaders and organizations should also work to expand their definition of DE&I to include neurodiversity. “It’s the sense that everybody has a diverse neurological way of moving through the world,” Hana explains. The overarching goal is to create a place where employees feel safe communicating that they’re neurodivergent (live with autism, ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, dyslexia, etc.), understanding what their needs look like and accommodating those needs.
But wait, there’s more…
When it comes to leading multi-generational, diverse teams, we all have lots to learn. Start by listening to the entire episode! You’ll learn Hana, Cari, and Dana’s thoughts on how different generations view work-life balance and tech adoption. You’ll also learn about Cari’s TikTok habit, how Dana shops on Instagram, and why, as a young parent, Hana now knows that the best gift you can give a young mom is to empty their dishwasher!
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