Why You Fear Public Speaking and How to Overcome It

Here’s how to reduce the fear of public speaking as recommended by a professional speaker.

Public speaking continues to be a top fear of humanity. Whether you’re speaking to a group of ten or ten thousand, public speaking is nerve racking. Yet most professionals agree that public speaking is a powerful skill capable of transforming one's business or career. 

As a professional speaker for over eight years, I’ve had experience training small groups of executives, pitching business plans to key stakeholders, and delivering keynote presentations to thousands of people around the world.

The below is my best advice for removing anxiety before any presentation.

But before I share my pro tip, lets better understand why humans fear public speaking so much.

One of the core needs of humans is a sense of belonging. Humans have a deep desire to be accepted, cared for, and involved in meaningful community. Humans are tribal species who live, work, and survive together.

As a survival technique, humans are biologically wired to scan the social group to identify where they stand. 

Let’s take the social group of work as an example. Our brains scan and evaluate if we are in the center of the team as a leader, in the neutral middle, or being pushed out or excluded from the team.

If the early humans who roamed the plains were excluded from their tribe, their chance of survival was minimal. After all these years, humans still avoid exclusion and seek belonging.

When you speak up in a group, pitch a new idea, or deliver a keynote presentation you risk exclusion. Our palms get sweaty before public speaking because we fear being embarrassed or judged for our thoughts, ideas, or suggestions which would ultimately lead to the group rejecting us and pushing us out of the group where survival is limited.

How do you overcome this human hard-wiring and reduce the fear of public speaking?

Uncover the unknowns.

Humans fear what they don’t know. And leading up to a presentation, there are many unknowns.

Here are a few examples of the unknowns that exist for public speakers...

  • Content, structure, and length of the presentation
  • Size and demographics of the audience
  • Size and layout of the presentation room
  • Audio and visual set-up
  • Flow of the agenda

Whether you're conscious of it or not, these unknowns are what contributes to the anxiety felt by public speakers. 

Turn unknowns into knowns and your public speaking anxiety will decrease and confidence will increase.

Here’s how to turn these unknowns into knowns.

  • Content, structure, and length of the presentation
    • Get to know your audience’s wants and needs and allow those to drive the content of the presentation
      • The more you focus on the audience's needs, the less you're thinking about your own anxiety 
    • Get to know your presentation by practicing it out loud
      • Speaking out loud will help you spot weak ideas, irrelevant data/stories, and disjointed transitions
  • Size and demographics of the audience
    • Get to know who will be in the room
      • Conduct interviews with audience members in advance of the presentation or arrive early to interact/observe the audience
  • Size and layout of the presentation room
    • Get to know the presentation room by arriving early and scoping out the environment.
      • Acoustics, size of the presentation screen, restroom location, etc. are helpful for putting public speakers at ease
      • The more you can mimic the live presentation (e.g. being on stage, using a microphone, clicking through the slides, etc.) the more confident you’ll become
  • Audio and visual set-up
    • Get to know the tech that is needed to display your presentation (testing the audio (of your mic or presentation videos), 
      • Ensure your slides are displaying appropriately on the presentation screen
      • Test the audio of your microphone and/or presentation videos
      • Have your presentation backed-up in multiple formats (.pptx, PDF, etc.) in the cloud (Dropbox, Box, etc.) and on a USB drive
        • If you present a lot, consider having adapters that allow you to present from your iPad or iPhone in case your laptop crashes
      • Establishing a relationship with the AV techs (if there are any) is important because they play a crucial part in the success of your presentation
  • Flow of the agenda
    • Get to know what’s happening right before and right after your presentation
      • Have a clear understating of where you need to be and when
      • Ensure you end on time, no audience member ever got angry at a presenter who ended on-time

The unknowns that are possible during a live presentation are countless. However, being proactive about uncovering the bigger unknowns is crucial for reducing the anxiety of public speaking while increasing the likelihood of a successful presentation.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is the Future of Work

Technology, Generation Z, and neuroscience are all contributing to emotional intelligence being the future of work.

Emotional intelligence is the future of work.

Human emotion is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Emotions start wars and create peace; spark love and force divorce. While unavoidable, emotions are also indispensable sources of orientation and propel us to take action. But unbridled emotion can make us and those around us to act irrationally.

Emotional intelligence is a relatively new construct, but its impact on how we work will be significant moving forward. The first academic article on emotional intelligence appeared in 1990, but the topic didn’t become mainstream until Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s personal emotions and the emotions of others. Knowing how you'd feel in a certain situation helps you to gauge how others will feel in a similar environment thus enabling favorable social interactions and evoking favorable reactions from others.

Emotional intelligent people gain social aptitudes such as the ability to resolve conflict, teach others, or manage teams.

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

Rising rates of loneliness, depression, and mental health concerns represent an opportunity for companies and leaders to embrace emotional intelligence in order to reengage people at work and life. 

According to Google’s famous Project Aristotle initiative, a high-performing team needs three things: 1) a strong awareness of the importance of social connections or “social sensitivity,” 2) an environment where each person speaks equally, and 3) psychological safety where everyone feels safe to show and employ themselves without fear of negative consequences. To harness these three elements of a successful team, it takes an emotionally intelligent leader.

People feel cared for when these three items are present among a team or organization. People that feel cared for are more loyal, engaged, and productive.

In fact, employees who feel cared for by their organization are…

  • 10x more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work.
  • 9x more likely to stay at their company for three or more years.
  • 7x more likely to feel included at work.
  • 4x less likely to suffer from stress and burnout.
  • 2x as likely to be engaged at work.

Why Emotional Intelligence is the Future of Work

1. Deep Human Needs

The three core human needs of work (and life) are to survive, belong, and become. Much like Maslovs Hierarchy of Needs, once humans fulfill the need of food, water, and shelter they will then seek to be accepted for who they are, and then finally to learn and grow to become their best selves.

As the world advances, more and more survival needs are being consistently met causing the workforce to turn their attention to the next tier of needs, most immediately being belonging. Emotionally intelligent leaders are capable of extending belonging to their teams.

2. Technology Will Enhance Humanity

The Industrial Revolution required strong workers. The Information Age required knowledgeable workers. The future age of work will require emotionally intelligent workers. 

As the world fills with more sophisticated technology such as artificial intelligence and 5G, human skills like compassion and empathy will define the competitive edge of workers and entire organizations.

In addition, as the world becomes more high-tech, there will be a desire and opportunity for more high-touch. As technology advances, it will take on a lot of the work that humans aren’t good at, don’t like, or too dangerous. This will leave us with more time and capacity to show up emotionally for each other.

For example, if artificial intelligence can diagnose diseases with greater accuracy than a doctor, doctors will have more margin to deliver the much needed human elements of empathy and compassion to patients. Or if robots can assemble a customer’s meal more accurately and efficiently than a human, that creates an opportunity for a human to get out from behind the counter to hold the door for a customer or meet them at their car during a rainstorm.

3. Work and Life Blending

Not only are emotions finding their way into work, but workers want it more.

A pervasive myth exists that emotions don’t belong at work, and this often leads us to mistakenly equate professionalism with being stoic or cold.

The boundaries between work and life continue to blur. People are bringing more work home, and more personal life is spilling into work. Try as we might, we cannot flip a switch and leave our pain, joy, sorrow, and excitement at the office door. Emotions travel with us.

According to Liz Fossien, co-author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, “In the moments when our colleagues drop their glossy professional presentation, we are much more likely to believe what they are telling us. We feel connected to the people around us. We try harder. Perform better. And

4. Evolving Employer-Employee Relationship

In the past, the employer-employee relationship was very transactional. Punch in, punch out, and collect a check. But in today’s always-on work culture, the boundaries of the employee-employer relationship are expanding. And considering work is the activity people spend the most time engaged with after sleep, employees are expecting more from the workplace.

More and more employers are leaning into the highly emotional aspects of their employees’ lives. For example, Hilton offers an adoption assistance program that will reimburse Team Members for qualified adoption expense up to $10,000 per child, with no limit to the number of adoptions. Facebook offers employees up to 20 days of bereavement leave in the event of a family member’s death. 

As employees seek more from their employers, moving from employing to empowering will serve employers well. 

5. Generation Z Demands It

Companies are struggling to adapt to the evolving emotional needs of their workforce. This is especially true among the emerging generations as 18-to-25-year olds have the highest prevalence of serious mental illness compared to other age groups, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally Gen Z is the loneliest generation in the workplace with 73 percent reporting sometimes or always feeling alone.

It’s not surprising then that more than any other generation, Gen Z wants their managers to be empathetic, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics' 2020 study, Solving the Remote Work Challenge Across Generations.

If the youth is the future and Gen Z are lonely and psychologically stressed then the future of work must be emotional intelligent.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

How to Structure and Deliver Training that Transforms Millennials

A new generation of learners requires a new approach to workplace training. Here are the six elements needed to professionally develop your Millennial employees.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, a leading research and advisory services firm, talent development is the second biggest challenge facing HR executives at organizations today. Bersin estimates companies spend more than $130 billion per year on employee development, with leadership development taking up the single largest area of spending.

According to the article, “The Secrets of Successful, Fast-Growing Businesses Today--and Plans for Tomorrow”, in the September 2016 issue of Inc. Magazine, 61 percent of the 2016 Inc 500 CEOs and founders prefer to develop employees by providing outside training. However, only 28 percent have a formal leadership development program.

While effective training and development is an issue for all employees, the issue is magnified among the Millennial workforce.

Seventy-one percent of Millennials who are likely to leave an organization in two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Sixty-nine percent of Millennials aspire to be leaders in the next five years and 60 percent of Millennials want training to develop their leadership skills.

Company perks, recruiting, customer service, and marketing are evolving to reach Millennials, so why is company training so far behind? 

With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day and a devastating lack of professional development for the generation who will replace the retiring leaders, it’s no surprise that 89 percent of executives rate the need to strengthen, reengineer, and improve organizational leadership as an important priority.

The Solution for Training Millennials

Because they grew up with ubiquitous connectivity and evolving mobile technology, Millennials think and act differently. They approach problems fundamentally differently thus they require an evolved learning approach. 

Microlearning can satisfy the learning expectations and preferences of Millennials. Microlearning provides training in small learning units and short-term learning activities delivered in a convenient and accessible manner. Content is distributed in “microscopic” learning bursts that are typically 2-15 minutes in length.

A powerful example of microlearning is 21Mill. 21Mill is an online microlearning platform built to help Millennials succeed in the workplace. 21Mill’s training consists of twenty-one 10-15 minute micro modules centered around Millennial-specific training topics such as Developing a Strong Work Ethic, Overcoming Entitlement, Putting Down the Device, and more. 

21Mill leverages microlearning to deliver on-demand rich media content via desktop or a mobile device. 21Mill takes it one step further by offering a blended approach (online and offline) to training where learners execute their learning through real-world assignments; all the while tracking their accomplishments and receiving support from 21Mill professionals. 

Millennials respond favorably to microlearning solutions, like 21Mill, for the following reasons.

6 Elements Needed to Deliver Training that Transforms Millennials

1.Brief and Beautiful

There is more competing for the time and attention of the emerging workforce then ever before. The media Millennials consume is bite-sized thus the training they are likely to consume has to be brief and succinct. Millennials also have a high expectation for technology to be simple, intuitive, and beautifully designed. Millennial training has to be beautiful. If the training content doesn’t appear to mirror what Millennials would consume on a regular basis, they will be less likely to engage and retain the information. 

Microlearning requires a shorter attention span so there is less cognitive load on learners and information is easier to absorb, retain, and recall. Microlearning matches human brain processing capabilities (especially Millennials) which makes it a fit for today’s fast-paced and hyperconnected workplace.

2. Agile and Accessible

The 21st century employee is untethered. They are remote workers, bringing their own device or applications to work and finding new ways to execute work and structure their day. Training must be digitally native and mobile in order to be effective for the next generation of learners. It has to be agile and accessible to fit into the active lives of Millennial employees. 

Microlearning delivers training in short intervals where learners can easily insert the training in their day to day lives. How and when Millennials learn is more important than what they learn because the “what” won’t matter if they never have the time or if accessing the training is over-complicated.  

3. Instant and Intelligent

Receiving a notification from Google Maps that traffic is heavy before starting your commute is informative and helpful. Information is being delivered instantly and intelligently. Why can’t training take a similar form where you receive an intelligent notification about powerful public speaking tips instantly on your phone while walking to a meeting where you’ll be presenting to the team. 

Millennials will turn to their smartphone to find just-in-time answers to unexpected problems. Information and learning is being accessed much differently today than in years past. Deploying intelligent learning via quick how-to articles, videos, or interactive infographics where learners can pull down the content for instant application makes microlearning ideal for Millennial training. 

4. Collaborative and Communal

A majority of workplace learning happens via on-the-job interactions with teammates, managers, and in-house subject matter experts. Creating communities where Millennials can learn from experts, managers, and their peers and also contribute their own experience or expertise is impactful and empowering.

When microlearning offers collaborative technology and a communal environment it helps to build relationships, diminish silos, shrink geographies, enhance personal influence, and promote sharing.

5. Relevant and Relatable

The accelerated change happening at work and in business means everyone needs to commit to continuous learning. This also means that training has to be hyper-relevant to the specific and evolving challenges Millennials face at work. If the content isn’t relevant and relatable for the learner, retention and recall of the information will suffer.

The microscopic nature of microlearning content allows for quick creation of content and fast consumption by the learner. Creating training that addresses a relevant need and provides a solution or applications that are relatable for the learner is key for engagement.

6. Blend and Bind

For the digitally dependent Millennial generation, it’s imperative that their training merge digital with real-world activities. Offline, in-person, or classroom training remains impactful and transformational in today’s digital age. A blended approach to training binds one’s learning.

Microlearning platforms, like 21Mill, that prompt, encourage, and reward Millennial learners for real-world interaction and application is extremely effective for binding the learning. 

In order to prompt development, sustain engagement, achieve transformation, and improve retention among your Millennial workforce, use microlearning.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

3 Things Top Talent Want in a Job

Is this what everyone wants in a job? A company with a 97 percent retention rate shares how to attract and retain great people…especially Millennial and Generation Z top talent.

Would it be impactful for organizations to attract more talent that resembled the top 10 percent of their best employees?

Of course.

However, attracting top Millennial and Generation Z talent seems to mystify so many employers. And even more perplexing, especially in a labor market that continues to tighten, is retaining top Millennial and Generation Z talent.

What’s a company to do?

The company that has achieved a retention rate of 97 percent among corporate staff and 96 percent among franchisees, Chick-fil-A, may have the blueprint needed to attract and retain top next-generation talent. 

Chick-fil-A is the most frequented fast-food restaurant in 38 of 50 U.S. states and in 2019 is expected to become the third-largest chain by sales in the United States, behind McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Committed to building upon their existing success, Chick-fil-A recently conducted hundreds of interviews and a national survey with thousands of participants to understand what made an organization a talent magnet

Beyond the non-negotiables of fair and competitive wages, a safe place to work, training and tools to do their job well, a positive culture, and a good brand reputation, Chick-fil-A uncovered the following essentials for attracting and retaining top talent. 

3 Things Top Talent Want in a Job

1. Better Boss

Sixty-five percent of Generation Z say the people whom they work with would enable their best work.

While most talent may desire a better boss, it's top talent who view effective leaders as a must and won’t tolerate a lousy boss.

When it comes to a better boss, Chick-fil-A discovered that top talent wants a boss who demonstrates care. Caring bosses invest time to get to know the hopes, aspirations, dreams, and even the families of those they lead. 

Here’s how Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, uses radical candor to demonstrate care for her Millennial-majority workforce.

2. Brighter Future

One of the top three things Generation Z looks for in an employer is professional development opportunities. 

Top talent have a proclivity to be future oriented. A strong indicator that someone might be a top performer is they will ask future-focused questions like these during a job interview: 

How will this role/organization/employer…

    • prepare me for future opportunities?
    • challenge me?
    • develop me?
    • grow me? 

Top talent is drawn to employers that can clearly and confidently highlight the ways in which the organization will challenge them with compelling work, aid their personal growth, and support their career advancement.

Number one and two correlate with the view of Patty McCord’s, the former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, that talent density (better bosses) and appealing challenges (brighter future) are the strongest elements to attract and retain talent.

3. Bigger Vision

Seventy-five percent of Generation Z (and 70 percent of Millennials) want their work to have meaning. And Millennials are more likely to stay with an employer longer if that company “regularly engages in social issues.”

Employers win top talent when they can connect the company’s mission and values to top talent’s desire to make a difference in the world. More specifically employers must answer what the company does, why they do it, and how individuals fit in

Vision ultimately energizes. According to organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, workers are energized and experience less burn out when they focus on the people who benefit from their work. Workers effort was boosted when they journaled daily about how they contributed to others.

Organizations and leaders should make it a priority to help top talent connect the line between the work they do and how it positively impacts others inside or outside the organization. 

These Things are Generational Agnostic but...

Doesn’t every generation want these three things in a job? 

Sure, but for Millennials and Generation Z, it's a condition of employment. For previous generations, these were "nice-to-haves" in a job, but the emerging generations are demanding employer’s provide these three things. 

Why? Because if a company doesn’t provide these things, Millennials and Generation Z are a finger swipe away from finding an employer or entrepreneurial venture that does provide a better boss, brighter future, and bigger vision. 

Make Sure to Avoid This Mistake

Don’t make the mistake of sharing these three job items after someone has been hired. 

Proactively cover these topics throughout the hiring process and share the story online. This is especially important to attract top Millennial and Generation Z talent, as 40 percent of Generation Z say they would use YouTube to determine if they want to work for a company while 37 percent would use Instagram.

In Summary...

You may be wondering, "Why should I cater to the individual, shouldn’t job seekers cater to the employer?” 

Today’s highly-connected and tight labor market has shifted the power to the individual. If the goal is to attract and retain top talent, employers must focus on what top talent values instead of what the company has to offer.

Connect people to a compelling vision (bigger vision), encourage and celebrate their progress towards the vision (brighter future), and care personally about their journey (better boss) in order to win top talent.

In addition to being a highly anxious and stressed generation, Gen Z is also the loneliest generation. More than half of Gen Zers identify with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness. The most common feelings experienced by Gen Z are feeling like people around them are not really with them (69%), feeling shy (69%), and feeling like no one really knows them well (68%).

After the uncertainty and social isolation of COVID-19 passes, Gen Z will thrive from the connection, assurance, and empathy delivered by emotionally intelligent leaders.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

8 Ways COVID-19 Will Forever Change the Future Workforce

This is how the Coronavirus is changing how Generation Z approaches work, views employers, and pursues education.

In a matter of seven days, COVID-19 has reoriented our relationships with each other, the media, technology, and the work we do. Humanity has never experienced such a swift and universal shift. 

Friends are hosting live parties on Instagram

Teachers are uploading lessons to YouTube for the first time. 

Doctors are utilizing FaceTime or Google Duo for telemedicine services with patients. 

Musicians are live streaming concerts on Facebook. 

Consumers are using Apply Pay to purchase essential services remotely.

Workers are using Teams to digitally collaborate with colleagues. 

The unfolding pandemic and the toil back to “normal,” will leave education, jobs, and industries changed in its wake. But perhaps the most change will happen to the future workforce, Generation Z.

Gen Z (those born after 1998) grew up in a post-9/11 world and during the Great Recession. And now during the most formative time of their lives, they face a challenge like no generation before them. This unprecedented event will have an indelible influence on their behaviors, decisions, and expectations.

Despite many headlines about how younger generations are disregarding the threat of the virus, 93 percent of Gen Z and Millennials are being impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, 74 percent of middle and high school students have stopped going to school. Anxiety and cautious are the top two emotions that Gen Z and Millennials are having about Coronavirus and only 19 percent of Gen Z and Millennials feel prepared during this pandemic.

After 9/11 air travel and airports were different. After COVID-19 the future workforce will be different.

8 Ways COVID-19 Will Forever Change the Future Workforce 

1. Deeper Dependence on Technology

While humanity strives to create physical distance from each other, the world turns to digital platforms and tools to remain socially connected. 

Established generations forced to connect digitally are now discovering that technology has gotten a lot easier to use while they were ignoring it. And if Gen Z wasn’t already using their phone to pay for groceries, coffee, or lunch they are now due to social distancing.

Established generations new found appreciation for technology (e.g. the ease of using Zoom or Slack to work remotely) coupled with Gen Z’s existing digital intelligence, will escalate the adoption rate of new technology at work. 

2. Unconventional Educational Backgrounds

Due to the pandemic, 290 million students around the world and 4.9 million U.S. students have been impacted as tens of thousands of schools close. Forced into virtual learning, teachers find themselves in unfamiliar territory as 70 percent of teachers have never taught a virtual course. Yet students find themselves in very familiar (and often preferred) territory as 62 percent of Gen Z would choose no college degree and unlimited Internet access over a college degree and no Internet access.

In addition, only 26 percent of Gen Z perceive education as a barrier to workplace success and 90 percent of employers say they are more open to accepting non-traditional candidates that do not hold four-year college degrees. 

As long-held beliefs of higher education begin to erode for students, parents, and employers, expect to see the future workforce to have unconventional educational backgrounds with a constellation of nano-degrees, certifications, and digital portfolios that better position them to thrive in tomorrow’s high-flux marketplace.

3. Entering Careers Sooner

Because there are more college alternatives available today than ever before, Gen Z might consider forgoing a traditional college education entirely to go work for a company that provides college-like learning and development. In fact, 62 percent of Gen Z are open to the idea of entering the workforce before completing a college degree according to Generation Z: A Century in the Making by Corey Seemiller and Meghan Grace.

Jenn Prevoznik, the Global Head of Early Talent Acquisition at SAP, says she is “all for” Gen Z skipping college to come to work for SAP because what really matters are their skills and willingness to learn not necessarily their degree.

The age-old model of learn to work is shifting to work to learn. 

4. Enhanced Value on Learning and Development

When Gen Z enters the workforce sooner than previous generations or with an unconventional educational background, they will be looking to their employer to provide the necessary training to gain the hard and soft skills Gen Z needs to perform well at their job and grow professionally.

Eighty-four percent of Americans say their career path will be significantly different from their parents. The idea of working at one company or in one industry or in one role is old-fashioned, especially for the future workforce.

Employers who deliver learning experiences that Gen Z actually uses, enjoys, and applies will win over the future workforce.

5. Revised View of Employers

Before COVID-19, work and life were blending like never before. Because of mobile technology, workers were bringing more work home and more life to work. Workplaces became workspaces. During COVID-19, work and life fully merged.

For Gen Z, it’s becoming difficult to distinguish where work stops and where life starts so to them it’s all just life. Work and life are in harmony.

The future workplace isn’t where work happens, it’s where life happens. Expect Gen Z to view their employers as a community where support, wellness, education, and more are extended.

6. Uncommon Career Paths

Gen Z service workers are losing more work hours than any other demographic and 29 percent of Gen Z workers (18-24 years-old) have been put on leave compared to only 13 percent of previous generations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that Gen Z is interested in diversifying their sources of income. In fact, given a choice, 53 percent of Gen Z would rather work a gig job than a full-time job and 46 percent of Gen Z are already participating in the gig economy.

As work cycles spin faster and faster—truncating the need for full-time employees—and gig work becomes more accessible and lucrative, expect uncommon career paths to be commonplace for the future workforce.

7. Demand for Emotionally Intelligent Leaders

In addition to being a highly anxious and stressed generation, Gen Z is also the loneliest generation. More than half of Gen Zers identify with 10 of the 11 feelings associated with loneliness. The most common feelings experienced by Gen Z are feeling like people around them are not really with them (69%), feeling shy (69%), and feeling like no one really knows them well (68%).

After the uncertainty and social isolation of COVID-19 passes, Gen Z will thrive from the connection, assurance, and empathy delivered by emotionally intelligent leaders.

8. Greater Global Unity

Not only has Gen Z grown up gaming in real time with strangers from around the world but they are now experiencing a global health crisis together. The number of Gen Zers who identify more as a global citizen than as a citizen of their country (42 percent) is likely to increase considering that shared hardship bonds people together. 

The future workforce will have a greater sense of global unity and as a result will demand more diversity and inclusion from their employers and leaders. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

Would you like insights like these shared at your organization? Sync Learning Experiences helps companies big and small deliver training via LMS courses, live workshops (in-person and virtual), and custom L&D solutions. Click here to get in touch with our team.

This Question Is the Foundation of Psychological Safety

Leaders who address this one question for their team will gain their full attention, effort, and loyalty.

In your gut, down your spinal column, and in the deepest recesses of your mind lingers the most fundamental question of humanity. It’s the question the entire human body is asking every second of every day.

If leaders answer this one question, they’ll win the head, heart, and hands of employees resulting in better engagement, performance, and retention.

This question is the root of the most common questions that workers ask themselves every day, such as...

  • Do I have what it takes to do my job?
  • Do I have the knowledge to speak up during a meeting?
  • Do I have enough money to provide for my family?
  • Do I have the confidence to ask for a promotion?
  • Do I have the wisdom to lead my team effectively?

The question behind the above questions—and most other questions we ask ourselves—is the much simpler question that drives human behavior…

Am I safe?

No matter age, role, or status, every human is unconsciously and repeatedly asking themselves this one question.

"Am I safe” is the cornerstone of each of the three primary human needs: survive, belong, and become.

For the survive need, humans ask, “Do I have food, water, and shelter?” Satisfying these primary human needs leads directly to safety.

For the belong need, humans ask, “Am I contributing and is that contribution valued?” When the early humans who roamed the plains were excluded from their tribe (likely due to lack of valued contribution to the community), they became instantly vulnerable. Today humans still avoid exclusion in order to remain safe. Belonging equates to safety.

For the become need, humans ask, “Am I living my full potential?” By striving towards full potential, humans are seeking safety from regret. Regret for not living life fully and doing what they were called to do. Safety also comes in the form of security in one’s ability to perform well and sustain a fruitful career. 

How can leaders move a team members beyond safety seeking?

Create psychological safety.

Psychological safety is a place “where one feels that one’s voice is welcome with bad news, questions, concerns, half-baked ideas, and even mistakes,” says Amy Edmondson author of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth.

Much like hunger or thirst, fulfill the human need of psychological safety and the mind and body are freed to focus on loftier goals. 

When psychological safety is created people are freed to ask questions, raise concerns, and pitch ideas without unnecessary repercussions. Amid increased importance of equality and ally-ship  at work; and growing loneliness among virtual teams, psychological safety is invaluable for today’s organizations.

Leaders who create psychological safety among a team reap...

Psychological safety increases the confidence, creativity, and trust among a team and is the single most important quality that determines a teams success. Additionally, one of the most important benefits of psychological safety is innovation.

In a world where black swans lurk around every corner, it’s critical a team feels safe enough to show up without a playbook and challenge the status quo. Psychological safety then allows a team to take action, freely admit mistakes, and talk through errors allowing for fast learning and quick iteration.

The absence of psychological safety represses innovation, stunts engagement, slows performance, and decreases loyalty among a team.

Psychological safety is the wellspring of innovation, engagement, performance, and loyalty.

One of the most integral aspects of leadership is the ability to satisfy a team’s deep desire to feel…safe.

For six ways to create psychological safety, read my recent article titled, How to Create Psychological Safety Among a Team.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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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