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The message is sent… Now what??

In a second attempt to further understand the new trend amongst human behaviour in the 21st Century or in the technological age (as it is called) I had met up with my co-writer Superintendent John Howitt again for our follow-up article to our 1st collaboration together. Superintendent Howitt and I put our thoughts together to try and hypothesize on how we see the flow of communication, the flattening of hierarchy in the workplace and what it means when it goes wrong!

What are the repercussions and how can this affect a career, dreams and perhaps more! According to many researchers, millennial babies are not used to receiving critical feedback and may not tolerate workplace hierarchies. After receiving trophies for not winning, speaking with their parents on household decisions and a community concept in schools, millennials are not going to tolerate the pyramid structure in a work environment. Yet what happens when they make a mistake when communicating with their said “boss” who also is part of the flattening movement in the workplace. According to Dan Schawbel in his article Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Who Would You Rather Hire? (2012)[i] for Time Magazine, wrote that even though young workers are less likely than previous generations to actually be in the workforce, the youth of today have very strong opinions about the workplace—how it should be run, and what their place should be in it. . Superintendent Howitt also shares that “it is flattering when people want to communicate with you and ask your opinion on certain pedagogies and educational literature”. However, Superintendent Howitt continues to share that we shouldn’t neglect our due diligence and the boundaries that come with the job. Appropriate and respectable communication is quite important when workplaces are massaged with both baby boomers, generation-x and millennials. Everyone needs to work appropriately together which in turn creates healthy relationships and work place cultures.

In our search to understand the way communication is transforming amongst those in positions of authority and those mentoring under them, it is important to continue to understand your role in the system. “Yes, I welcome and look forward to communicating with everyone I work with  however, if that trust is broken, where does that leave our working relationship?” said Superintendent Howitt. Because communication is an integral part of the work environment, learning the etiquette necessary for respectful and appropriate communication is something that we as teachers could integrate into our daily lessons.

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Although we (the non-millennial generation) see the dynamics changing, it is very wise to remember that individuals in positions of leadership have worked hard to get there. Keeping that respectful dialogue present whether in person or via on-line medium is important.

Can it be a career breaker? Superintendent Howitt explains that while it will not be a career breaker, in many cases it can hinder relationships and break trust. This will in turn change the dynamics of that relationship and could sever all ties. As Schawbel also mentions in his article, Gen Y will also reshape the workplace—sooner than later, if they have their way. Among other characteristics that stand out, millennials, who have come of age with the text message and social media, are an impatient bunch: They’re hyper-connected, tech savvy, entrepreneurial, and collaborative. They also favor fast-paced work environments, want quick promotions, and aren’t fans of traditional office rules and hierarchies.

It is important to ensure that the relationship is trusting and has honor. Although many working relationships are friendly, it is important to understand that a hierarchy does exist in the workplace and responsible communication as well as, we have a responsibility to keep our broader audience in mind. In the 21st century we are able to communicate globally and this gives communicators a due diligence to keep the messages constructive and positive; especially if it will take place over social media. It is when the confidence is broken that ties are severed and communication will cease. It is an interesting walk…

BIOGRAPHY of collaborator:

John Howitt, Superintendent of Education – Elementary Staffing and Information Technology, Greater Essex County District School – 6 years. His previous roles include Elementary Teacher, CAIT, Elementary Vice-Principal, and Elementary Principal. Committees: Technology Council and John collaborates with Community/Provincial Liaison: Faculty of Education Liaison (Elementary Practice Teaching Placement) and CWE Executive Committee. John is married with two girls and a dog.

[i] business.time.com/2012/03/29/millennials-vs-baby-boomers-who-would-you-rather-hire/


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