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F&H Solutions Group’s consultants are knowledgeable about many of the most important global human resources and labor relations issues of the day.

We are frequently asked to provide expert commentary and enjoy sharing our insights with the media. For all media inquiries, please contact Samantha Glass.

Media Mentions

Generational Conflict at Work? It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way

Much has been studied about multiple generations in the workforce, and often, the opportunities age diversity presents get lost in the worries about generational tension.

It’s becoming more common for 20-somethings and 70-somethings to work together on the same teams. Many older people have been delaying retirement in recent years, while eager younger workers—who are likely to be in touch with the latest ideas and innovations—are joining their older colleagues in leadership positions.

So, how is age diversity working out for employers? Every workplace is different, of course, but at least one recent study points to signs of harmony.

Multiple Generations Are an Asset

Office technology giant Ricoh USA released research in May showing that 71% of 1,500 survey respondents across the United States and Canada believe a cross-generational workplace is an asset. Of those workers, 76% said they enjoy working alongside colleagues of different ages.

Also, today’s workers of all ages want their employers to strive to bring about positive world change. The researchers say a blurring of the lines between people’s personal and professional lives is driving the unity.

Brad Federman, chief operating officer of HR consultancy F&H Solutions Group, also sees reasons for unity among the generations. “There has never been a big difference between generations at work,” he says. “Most people, regardless of generation, want many of the same things, including being respected, appreciated, developed, and having a voice at work.”

Federman says there are many commonalities across generations—“a universal language if you will.” Their shared goals create strong teamwork and bridge any gaps that do exist, he adds.

Recent research has shed more light on having multiple generations in the workforce and exposed previous assumptions about generational differences, Federman says.

“The original research that people utilized to come up with theories about work were completed over very large populations for marketing purposes and were never meant to be utilized as a leadership or management tool,” Federman says. “The moment people misapplied the research at an individual level is the moment that organizations began to stereotype individuals.”

According to Federman, when conflict crops up, it is usually self-induced because assumptions were made about people, and others were taught to do the same.

Avoiding Conflict

Federman has some advice for companies that experience tension among age groups: “Focus messaging and training on commonalities between generations rather than on differences,” which would also promote inclusivity.

“Most importantly, teach your people to connect and get to know one another,” Federman adds, as it’s difficult for people to stereotype and see each other one-dimensionally if they’ve gotten to know each other.

“When relationships are built and people are committed to one another, they help each other, they learn from each other, and they strengthen each other,” Federman says.

Shared Thinking

The Ricoh research shows that what was seen as a priority only for the youngest workers—an interest in measuring success more than just financially and a desire for employers to be forces for good—is actually a priority shared by multiple generations. Employers have an opportunity to capitalize on that kind of thinking.

“Everyone, every generation cares about more than financial rewards,” Federman says. “People want a sense of pride. They want to know they work for a respected brand that invests in the broader community and develops their people.”

Federman urges organizations to look at how they are perceived on the outside and give people a reason larger than themselves for working for them, ensuring their employees are sharper and more marketable each year.

“Ironically, the more attractive an employee is on the open market because a company invested in them, the more likely that employee will stay,” Federman says. “And those are the employees you need to keep.”

HR Daily Advisor   |   
New To Management? 15 Steps To Gracefully Transition From Peer To Leader

Workplace friendships are a natural byproduct of spending a lot of time working and chatting with the same peers. However, these relationships have a completely different dynamic than a relationship between a boss and an employee. So when you land that promotion and realize you will now have to manage your current office buddies, you might feel more overwhelmed than excited.

Although your relationship with your former peers will inevitably change, you don’t have to completely compromise the bonds you’ve built. We asked Forbes Coaches Council members to share some steps new managers can take to ensure a smooth transition from peer to leader.

Forbes Coaches Council members share what to do when you've been promoted to manage your former teammates.

1. Clear The Air

Given the sensitivity of the situation, my advice is to clear the air in advance to the extent possible. Have those one-on-one conversations and show that you are a leader by doing what great leaders do: address the elephant in the room. Tell them how much you respect them as your colleagues and what this promotion will mean in terms of the way you work together. Listen to them. Then go lead! - Marina CvetkovicThe Peak Alliance

2. Remind Them You're In It Together

Starting any new position can feel overwhelming as you push out of your comfort zone. Adjusting your relationships can be necessary as the dynamic between you and the people you manage changes. The key is to remain authentically you. That consistency allows employees to feel they can trust you. Plus, the sentiment that "you're in it together" reinforces positive team morale. - Rosie GuagliardoInnerBrilliance Coaching

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
 

3. Believe In Your Own Leadership Capabilities

Remember you have been chosen for a reason. People higher up in the organization have noticed something in you that makes you leadership material. Often we are too closely attached to our limiting beliefs that it’s hard for us to trust ourselves. Yes, you are a leader and that’s why you got the promotion. If your leaders believe it, enhance your skills and start believing it too. - Frances McIntoshIntentional Coaching LLC

4. Help Your Team Earn A Win

Bring in a win for your team. Solve a problem where they've felt neglected or frustrated. Bring in resources that have been missing. Help them accomplish a goal. You are a manager now, and roles have changed. But show them that your emphasis is on working with them, not on them working for you. - Christian MunteanVantage Consulting

5. Listen To Your New Team

Circumstances of your promotion will determine a specific plan of assimilation. However, whether the scenario you are entering is a turnaround, growth or another type of scenario, to ensure everyone is heard for their perspective and assessed for their skills is always a good step. When individuals are heard, even if you disagree, it's a stronger basis for building respect. - Lisa RangelChameleon Resumes LLC

6. Offer To Mentor Someone

You may get the title, but the emotional and mental perspective, skill level and more take time to develop. Ask for assignments that develop and test your leadership mentality and skills. Ask to lead a project and ensure you have feedback mechanisms set up. Try holding a career conversation with a peer and help them in their development. See if you can mentor or coach someone. - Brad FedermanF&H Solutions Group

7. Set Your Assumptions Aside

Spend time to cultivate the new relationship. Have a conversation that acknowledges the transition. Table your assumptions and get curious. Ask questions that can set clear agreements on how best to relate to one another: "What concerns, if any, do you have about this transition? How do I best support you? How would you like me to share any concerns I see or acknowledge you for a job well done?" - Sheeba VargheseCoach Sheeba

8. Shift Your Mindset From 'Doing' To 'Empowering'

You were likely promoted because you showed functional expertise. Now, you need to shift your mindset from technical expert and doer to empowering leader. Stifle the urge to tell others what to do or do things yourself. Instead, communicate the vision and show trust in your former peers' expertise by allowing them to execute using their own approach. Remind yourself daily to empower instead of do. - Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC

9. Ask For Their Help

Instead of wondering how to change the dynamic, or whether your team will respect the new structure, discuss it with them. Explain that you know it's awkward for them and share how it is for you too. Tell them the truth—that you realize reporting to you is weird having been peers. And recruit their partnership in building a new relationship for all of you. It will take some muddling through. - Amie DeveroAmie Devero Coaching & Consulting

10. Model The Behavior You Want To See

It's critical that you, the new manager, model the behavior you expect to see in your new team to establish credibility. Your relationship will change with your former peers. Leaders aren't 'pals' of their teams, they are mentors and supporters. Build a new network of fellow colleagues and connect with an executive mentor to support your growth. Never stop investing in building leadership skills. - Erin UrbanUPPSolutions, LLC

11. Respect Everyone's Contributions

It is easy when you are promoted to be a supervisor or manager to begin directing everyone. This is often counterproductive since you haven't established yourself as their manager yet. Begin as more of a team leader, asking for their input on issues and discussing changes. Understand that everyone else has as many ideas as you do. Respect their contributions and build a team environment. - Stephen FordFitzgerald, Stevens & Ford, Inc.

12. Clearly Articulate Your Plans And Goals

When you have your first one-on-one with a direct report who was a peer, call out the shift in the reporting structure and acknowledge that it may take a little getting used to on both sides. Then be clear about your plans and goals for the working relationship and ask your direct report about theirs. If you “call it out” and set clear goals, the transition will be smooth. - Alexandra PhillipsAlexandra Phillips Consulting LLC

13. Take A Listen And Learn Tour

Graduating from peer to a boss is anxiety-inducing for everyone. One thing influential managers do is go on a “Listen and Learn” tour as soon as they get promoted. This initiative is intentional and is designed to intake the good, bad and ugly. It works really well, as it gives employees the chance to voice their opinions freely, and it gives the manager the liberty to poke around and get curious. - Ali MerchantAli Merchant

14. Stay Connected

Connection and authenticity are vital to maintaining respect, collaboration, and results when you're no longer "one of the gang." Plan a casual meeting with food to speak your truth: Things will change for all and you appreciate their support. You're on their side because there's only one team. Then, invite feedback and unveil a system to receive their honest input. - Leeza Carlone SteindorfLeeza Steindorf Coaching

15. Be Humble

Humility is an essential leadership trait. It might be the most important trait when a person is promoted to manage their peers. The promotion should stand as enough for the leader so the leader is wise to go to their peers in humility and seek input, ask questions and listen to ideas about what their peers think about the organization and how to succeed. - Ken GosnellCEO Experience

Forbes Coaches Council   |   
'Agile Leadership': 13 Definitions Of A Successful Professional

It’s hard to be a leader in the business world and not hear the buzzword “agile leaderhip” a time or two. But what does this industry term really mean for everyday business professionals? As a leader, do you possess agility in your decision-making skills, or are you agile in your ability to manage your team?

No matter your skill level or experience, being an agile leader can make a big difference in your flexibility as a manager, as well as your ability to adapt to the business world around you. To better define what “agile leadership” really means, we asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to share their definition of an agile leader and why it is an important goal professionals should strive for. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Flexibility And Stability In One

Pace of change in the market is as slow as it is going to get for the rest of our lives. For organizations to be successful in the disruptive environment, agile leadership needs to span across every department and industry. An agile leader is one that is flexible and stable at the same time—able to keep a steady eye on the intermediate goal and another eye on all the possible ways to get there. - Marina Cvetkovic,The Peak Alliance

2. Enhanced Self-Awareness

For cultures that have embraced "agile leadership," supporting leaders to serve teams, it is important to emphasize a leader's ability to be self-aware. To be able to serve the organization, a leader must be aware of the impact their skills, abilities and personality have on others. A leader needs self-awareness to communicate a vision and direction through complexity. - Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

3. Anchoring In The ‘Why’

All too often, we get anchored in "what" and "how." "We've always done it this way." Being an agile leader requires you to anchor in the "why." The "how" and "what" will change with new technologies, new competition, marketplace shifts. If they are your anchors, you will be slow to change. Anchor in the "why." If giving into that is what connects you, you will be able to shift "what" and "how" more quickly. - Brian Gorman, TransformingLives.Coach

4. A Variety Of Leadership Styles

I use the term "agile leadership" to mean a variety of leadership styles: a more directive or authoritarian style in some instances, a more facilitative style in others and a more coaching style, to name a few. We need a number of styles, and then the discernment to identify which style to use in which situation. - Lesly Higgins, Lesly Higgins

5. Collaborative Community Building

Agile leaders build high-trust, respectful communities with meaningful working relationships that they then empower to create balance between the organizational needs and their tensions. This results in the encouragement of development and learning, as well as the continuous flow of creativity. Collaborative communities can achieve much more than individuals can. - Peter Jansen, Radio Latino Inc

6. Thriving In The Chaos

Agile leaders have both the ability to create something out of nothing and to capitalize on opportunity arising from instability. In today's world, we have economic, geopolitical and environmental turbulence that leaders need to be able to maneuver successfully. Continuous learning, multigenerational/multicultural feedback and innovative problem-solving will allow leaders to stay ahead. - Lisa Rangel,Chameleon Resumes LLC

7. A Safe Environment For Educated Risks

Agile leaders promote cross-team collaboration and a culture that functions during times of ambiguity and still remains customer focused. The most important quality of an agile leader is their ability to promote a safe environment for taking educated risks through clarity of direction, transparency and role modeling appropriate behaviors. -Brad Federman, F&H Solutions Group

8. Continuously Editing Your Rule Book

Agile leaders know that using a "this is how we've always done it" approach doesn't enable them or their organization to succeed in our ever-changing marketplace. Be open to new approaches and flexible to other ways of thinking. Ask your team to present solutions, even if you think their ideas are crazy. The tried and true approach doesn't always work now. Be open to new solutions to thrive. - Loren Margolis,Training & Leadership Success LLC

9. Being Comfortable With Uncertainty

Agile leaders are comfortable with uncertainty and understand that creativity and resourcefulness are important to being agile. Successful leaders adapt their thinking, their organizations and their execution techniques to the situation they face. Agile leaders realize there will be times with high levels of ambiguity and that concrete answers or perfect solutions to challenges rarely emerge. - Jonathan Silk, Bridge 3 LLC

10. Preparing To Drive Change

Agility is the ability to flex and pivot with market or business climate changes. Demographics, technology and changes in the workforce require flexible leadership ready to shift strategies to compete. Keeping your eye on trends and the needs of your ideal target clients and team members can help you anticipate and prepare to drive change in your organization. - Jennifer Wilson, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC

11. Learning And Not Reacting

Agility should never be confused with reaction to the world around you. If you are purely reactive, you are letting other people dictate the terms of your success. Take care in creating feedback loops that allow you to learn from your customers, market conditions, competitors and your team. If you use those feedback loops to make informed decisions and change direction, you are an agile leader. - Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, LLC

12. Purpose And People For Bold Results

Being an agile leader starts with clarity of purpose and a relentless focus on people and what they need to deliver bold results. It requires four commitments in how we lead: to be fully present in each interaction, to be an expert novice, to listen to learn and to care. These four habits create capacity for the situational intelligence we need to navigate ambiguity and complexity effectively. - Cyndee Blockinger Lake, Blank Page

13. A More Dynamic And Holistic Approach

Agile leadership is a more dynamic and holistic approach to leadership. This approach leads to richer results for your business and a lot more enjoyment along the way for you and your team. Considering employees' needs and desires personally and professionally helps them feel more invested, engaged, connected and happier. These qualities can lead to optimizing your business and goals too. - Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

Forbes Coaches Council   |   

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