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1 Simple Way to Overcome Generational Bias

In two sentences, Abraham Lincoln provided a masterclass on overcoming bias.

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” – Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s wise words ring loud in a world with so much divisiondistraction, and disagreement.

Today, the faster something validates our assumption or worldview, the quicker we seem to adopt that information. The human brain craves the shortest route to make sense of information. However, that shortcut can leave out a lot of understanding and perspective-shaping context.

Today’s multi-generational, vastly-diverse, high-flux, technology-accelerating, info-inundated, headline-reading culture demands that we seek more understanding.

There is a wealth of information today but a poverty of understanding.

In my line of work as a generational speaker, author, and trainer, I consistently see people (and organizations) holding too tight to their misguided assumptions of other generations.

I got into teaching about generations because of these misguided assumptions and the generational finger pointing that caused organizations to stall and leaders to stagnant.

Leaders were saying, “I don’t like that generation.” And I wanted to move them to saying, “I must get to know that generation better.”

Getting to know someone’s personal story about the events, struggles, and triumphs that shaped who they are allows for a deeper connection, appreciation, and understanding between two people.

Similarly, elevating the conversation beyond generations and taking a broader look at the events, technology, and innovations that are shaping generations enables leaders to better communicate, lead, and work across generations.

Lincoln’s quote is a strong reminder that we must resist jumping to conclusions and first seek understanding.

If you don’t like that…generation, employee, colleague, or manager. Get to know them better.

If you don’t like that…technology, policy, rule, or view. Get to know it better.

True knowledge is understanding the extent of your own ignorance.

Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies’ #1 asset, their people.

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