Shifting Perspectives: How EMS Leaders Can Bridge the Generational Divide 

By Lisa Giruzzi

Many of the leaders we hear from describe their young employees as having a sense of entitlement, i.e., expecting everyone to conform to their wishes, they lack a good work ethic, and are not able to communicate effectively which is usually blamed on texting and social media. They see this as a hot button issue causing unique challenges to having a well functioning team.

Many of you are likely nodding your head in agreement as you read the above paragraph. 

Consider this quote:

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” 

This quote is attributed to Socrates (470-399 BC). As you can see from the quote, these types of complaints about young people are not new. The generation that came before you probably complained about you!

We invite the EMS leaders that we work with to ask a different question, “How do I connect with and communicate effectively with the people I lead, no matter how they  differ from me?” 

Anytime we add a label to anyone it prevents us from being able to get our message across because we are speaking to our label and not the person. In other words, a label describing someone is a projection of our thinking onto them, not who the person actually is. Our label acts as a filter and it prevents us from seeing what is actually happening and instead, amplifies the things that agree with our belief (label). This is known as Confirmation Bias and has been extensively studied. It is an evolutionary process that helped us survive as a species but unfortunately, it is also a huge blindspot that prevents us from truly connecting with people.

Another point to consider is that it is common for a parent to want their children to have it better than they did. It is natural for parents to want their children to be happier, healthier, and have an easier life. The result of that is the next generation is a demand for a better life and perhaps that’s a good thing; it improves conditions for everyone, and that is how progress is made. 

Lastly, do you use the same phone as you did 20 years ago or the same cardiac monitor, or the same computer? Likely, your answer is “no.”  Everything changes and we adapt. Why isn’t leadership the same? There is an expectation by leaders that people should stay the same and conform to an outdated approach and that expectation is the problem, not the younger generation.

Leadership and communication are inextricably linked. If you truly want to excel as a leader then investing in your ability to communicate will give you the most bang for your buck.

If you’d like to learn how to communicate more effectively, then join us on January 31, 2024, for a 4-hour Live Special Training Event entitled, The Language of Leadership: Communicating to Lead and Achieve.

All proceeds from this training will go towards supporting the extraordinary nonprofit organization, Mind the Frontline, dedicated to supporting the mental health of our healthcare, military, and public service frontline first responders.

Click here to learn more or to register for this special training event.

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Lisa Giruzzi

Lisa is a best-selling author, result-producing consultant and an award-winning trainer with more than twenty-five years’ experience helping individuals and organizations to be more successful and achieve their goals. She specializes in causing breakthrough results for her clients by giving them access to a whole new level of power and performance.

Lisa Giruzzi

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