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Communication Psychology of the Gen Y Era


Momma in Forest Gump used to say, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

As you walk into the office on the early morning of a Monday, with a hot cup of coffee and the Monday blues, concealing your emotions behind a much-practiced poker face or at best, a courageous challenging smiling one, you stop dead in your tracks. There is that little bird dressed up more daringly than what she had last Friday when she was going out to party, typing away turbulently with wonderfully manicured nails. In the ten steps that you have taken forward, she has browsed through Gmail, Facebook, and Outlook. Seeing you, she promptly hands over a file with the thousand queries when you had just about cleared all of them before leaving office on Friday.

This is but a tiny drop in the sea of the dreaded, probing Generation Y. Generally you don’t have any idea about what you will finally obtain.

Every generation interacting with the older or the younger one experiences a chasm in communication, expectations, and understanding. Moreover, from the generation gap and the various problems that it begets in families, this has a massive influence on the modern business environment. Organizations and communities design and bring about wonder alike of ways and methods to bridge the two generations that remain time and again on the opposite banks of the river of change. Few of the core competencies and skills that spearhead success today have been identified as managing Ambiguity, Rules of engagement, and the lightning Technological advances that pour heavily. Irrespective of the generation one comes from, these key competencies need to be learned and mastered.

Directive Communication Organisational Development Psychology, with Training Accreditation from AIOBP successfully addresses this flux with its coded thought of Encoded Assumptions. Bernard Baruch put it very neatly, ‘If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ If one lives life on the premise of what has worked well in the past alone, making that as not only the fundamental truth but also the universal one and is extremely reluctant to welcome the future with a broad mind, one is living life backward! Put that in an organizational environment and it spells Entrenched Apocalypse in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing, competitive environment. Consciousness and Management are the keys to unlocking the codes!

Awareness Keys – The Quest

Tip 1 – Develop a practice of asking yourself Questions that helps emerge the Encoded Assumptions you may have. One typical example is simply, ‘What SHOULD this person/this generation be like?’ Then listen keenly to your own answer, ‘She/he/this MUST be like …. and not like that.’

Tip 2 – As the first tip helps you to become aware of your secretly well–hidden assumptions, actively listen out for the assumptions of others. The boundaries that people draw are hard to miss. Tell–tale signs are, ‘Only’, ‘Cannot do/be’, ‘Like last time…’, ‘All of them are the same’, Generalizations, Judgements, Prejudices, Fears of the Unknown, and the many ‘isms’ that brings security about ways things should be; racism, sexism, ageism.

Tip 3 – While you are working sincerely for the awareness about Encoded Assumptions, look into your heart if there is a low lying desire that things would come back as they perfectly were in the past. For example, this Generation Y bubble will soon become pale, they will become how we were! One is then not creating a dynamic future but is just living the past.

Management Keys – The art of Managing ‘ART’

Tip 4 – Managing Ambiguity – One of the importantly learned tastes today would be to be comfortable with the shades of grey and not gun for the secure black/white. Right from the diverse backgrounds that one can come from these days to the blurring lines of cultural, racial, and religious exclusivities with the global trotting, it is a worthwhile competence to get into the skin of acceptance and non – judgementality.

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Tip 5 – Managing Rules of Engagement – An acquired skill to flex one’s self–created rules of engagement with other people will definitely keep one in good stead. In every interaction, attempting to be empathetic and to treat the other well regardless of age and gender, would be an impressive step in extending one’s own rules of engagement.

Tip 6 – Managing Technological Advancement – Two simple steps – Keep up to date yourself or rely on a person who does that. A tip on the latter – Treat her/him well.

Living and Breathing Keys – Expanding the Circle of Tolerance

Tip 7 – The one magical word that requires two persons at least – Dialogue! The most suitable cure for isolation, alienation, and invisibility or too much visibility. Remember this is the last tip to be practiced in conjunction with the first six. Only through effective dialogue and religious practice, can one begin to be empathetic and understand reality through the other person’s perspective. When another perspective is recognized, it naturally nudges the Circle of Tolerance effortlessly. It is the ultimate test for one’s Rules of Engagement. It is a conscious shift away from the urge of talking top-down, debating, or conversing regarding external affairs.

Interestingly, online dialogue and touchpoints are essential for Generation Y. This essentiality has most of the time been criticized as it is not considered as a socially accepted norm.

Margaret J Wheatley, who wrote ‘Turning to One Another’ with the tagline – Simple conversations to rebuild the hope for the days to come, speaks about the use of mail – ‘For example, I was discussing the use of email and how impersonal it can be, how people will now email someone across the room instead of going and talking to them. To me, it is not sluggish, I think it is a conscious decision people are making to save time.’ It is the new age Rule of Engagement for better or for worse.

These 7 tips are a very effective cure and catalyst towards developing relationships, involving communities, organizational stickiness and development, team bonding and building, leading; to name a few. The 7 tips could be mastered by any colored brain processor with sufficient practice. The 7 tips allow Truth to surface;

I was fortunate to have sat in for Justice Albie Sachs’s plenary keynote speech at the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, 2009, in Nepal. Amongst powerful, poetic imagery and stories from South Africa, he shared about the struggle for freedom, the strategies to move into the future sustaining the truth of his people, and the courageous move of the Truth Reconciliation and its influence on his country. He spoke of Truth to be of four kinds – Experiential Truth, Observational Truth, Logical Truth, and Dialogical Truth.

With the consciousness and management of Encoded Assumptions, you can choose the truth you wish to create for the success of an individual, an organization, a community, a generation.

© 2021 Brittany Harvard

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