When I saw a video of Simon Sinek keep appearing in my Facebook feed, I refused to click on it. One headline, “This is EXACTLY what’s wrong with this generation!” was enough to put me off.
When my wife recommended it, I watched it.
It’s a fifteen-minute excerpt from a longer interview, and the focus is on millenials (people born after 1984 or so) in the workplace. He describes, for example, how technology and impatience are shaping this generation, making them less happy and less effective at work.
“Everything you want - instant gratification!
EXCEPT job satisfaction & strength of relationships - there ain’t no app for that. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.”
Then, at 10:23, he said something that surprised me: it’s a company’s responsibility to help people develop those relationships, to give them the skills to do so.
“We are putting them in corporate environments that aren’t helping them build their confidence, that aren’t helping them learn the skills of cooperation, that aren’t helping them overcome the challenges of a digital world…”
I hate to say it…It’s the company’s responsibility…we have to work extra hard to find ways to teach them the social skills they’re missing out on.
Trust doesn’t form in a day…It’s the slow steady consistency…We have to create mechanisms where we allow those…interactions to happen.”
You might think teaching “people skills” is the responsibility of parents or schools, or that individuals should just develop them on their own. But if, for whatever reasons, new joiners don’t have these skills - how to build trust and rapport, how to cooperate and collaborate - would’t it benefit the company to help employees develop them?
What do you think? Should organizations be teaching people how to relate to each other?
Update - Feb 1, 2017: Shortly after I posted this, several people pointed out that Simon Sinek recorded a follow-up video (in his kitchen, no less) to respond to some of the strong reactions, both positive and negative, to the things he said in the interview. It's excellent, and clarifies several key points, including the one about corporate responsibility for improving how employees relate to each other.