How to Appreciate a Know-It-All

New Generation employees don't believe in "The Unanswerable Question." That is a valuable trait to put to work in your organization.

How to Appreciate a Know-It-All

By Jim Gulian June 4, 2014

I will admit to the temptation of putting a young know-it-all in their place at work.  It is a part of our animal nature to establish a pecking order or a pack hierarchy.  It is also part of our human nature to restore a weird sense of fairness or justice by ensuring that new employees "pay their dues," like we did, even though we knew at the time that our talents were like-wise being wasted.  If you run a business or count on the good work of your employees to succeed, you can follow those animal and human instincts to your ruin.

Regardless of the age or the generation your employees belong to, if you wish to compete and win in today's business environment, why not put the full talents that each person brings to work for you?  Of course there are specific tasks that need repeating everyday (grunt work), but that only engages a small portion of those talents.  This new generation was raised on multi-tasking.  They did their homework with several windows opened on a lap top and music in their headphones while watching TV and reading the text which crawled across the top and the bottom of the screen.  They can handle more than grunt work so get more than what you are paying for.

Bruce Tulgan, generational workplace expert calls it, "turning grunt work into knowledge work."  The concept is to engage your young workers in the process they are repeating daily by asking them to look for ways to improve it, or to research how other organizations are doing it, or to compare how you stack up to your competitors?  The idea is to use their fresh perspective, their thirst for knowledge and their skills at information research, to improve and innovate your products and process.  You don't have to use every or any ideas that result from their efforts, but you certainly have to listen and show appreciation for the talents they offer.  You never know where your next great idea will come from.  Enjoy this clip from, Bruce Tulgan's, Not Everyone Get's a Trophy.


Jim Gulian is a co-founder Media Partners. He has been writing and directing award winning training programs for more than 35 years.