“As you may have heard, the millennial generation (people born between 1981 and 1996) will comprise nearly 75% of the global work-force by 2025. These young, passionate people are changing the game in many important ways. And their influence on today’s society and workplace includes a demand for a more human life at work.” – Bring Your Human to Work, Erica Keswin

As an elder millennial this resonates, but I also think many of us, regardless of age want to feel like our work matters, our voice matters, we matter. Technology not only gives us the opportunity to exchange ideas, collaborate, and connect, but it also gives us the opportunity to see the world in real time. We get to see the good stuff, but we also see the parts of it that need changing. There is no shortage of problems to solve.

I had the opportunity to join Suzanna Davis, principal at Lakota East High School, and some of her students for a planning meeting. I was blown away by how articulate these students were at a table filled with adult leaders. Not only that, their ideas for creating real change in their school were practical and thoughtful. We found ourselves saying, “Wow, why didn’t I think of that?” We didn’t think of it because sometimes the best person to help you see a problem for what it really is are the people living the customer experience every day: our students.

We also found ourselves thinking, “OK, I didn’t think or talk that way when I was high school.” And it’s true, I didn’t. I could plan pep rallies, school dances, and speak on student advisory committees, and I did. But I didn’t lead action plans alongside adult leaders. WHY? Because I wasn’t given the opportunity.

The students at Suzanna’s table are used to being at the table. They are used to being equals in the change process. They are used to leading, and because its now part of their paradigm, they are really good at it.

More than ever, I’m interested in the following:

Tapping into the creative leadership power of our students.

Referring to all people in our schools as learners and eliminating the power dynamic that words such as teacher/student creates in our schools.

And listening. Letting other humans speak. Truly listening. There is so much to learn from others.

I’m going to continue to explore other ways to bring my human to work every day in 2019. There is no separate work and home self. We are one, complete self. And the world could use more authenticity and connection with others across all levels in our organizations.

There are plenty of people with a lot to say about how we could do things better.

So, let learners speak. And empower them to act. We can move more work more quickly when we are all inspired and invested in bringing our missions to fruition.

How will you bring your human to work in 2019?