“Straight A Management”

For fascinating insight into the work attitudes of Gen X and Millennials, check out Rebecca Ryan’s Live First, Work Second. Ryan’s firm, Next Generation Consulting, is a market research firm focused on engaging young professionals.

I particularly liked Ryan’s formula for attracting and retaining talent in the 20 to 40 age cohort – “Straight-A Management” – as a response to what she cites as an epidemic of bad management. Based on David Richo’s work (How to Be an Adult in Relationships), Straight-A Management involves:

  • Acceptance – being accepting of diversity among employees.
  • Affection – creating a sense of affiliation & collegiality.
  • Allowance – supporting employees’ professional aspirations.
  • Appreciation – acknowledging employees’ contributions to their work.
  • Attention – being attentive and accessible.

Although the book is about attracting and retaining the young professionals, Ryan advocates the importance of people-centered management to engage employees of ALL ages. This approach is consistent with the time-honored advice that “you must engage employees’ heads and hearts if you want to get the best from your people.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

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