Connection is the key to setting boundaries

Speaking your Truth to Power
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I believe everyone can agree that, generally, if a person crosses someone’s boundary, it would be great if the offended person spoke up. It would be great if everyone abstained from coping with any life issue using passive or passive-aggressive behavior.

Yet, we do need to acknowledge the difficulty of calling someone out where a power imbalance exist. Dealing with power is more art than science. It can be quite challenging to speak truth where candor is not valued in organizational relationships.

If you asked an HR professional for their honest opinion, they would probably say that many of the issues they deal with could have been avoided if the parties involved had simply had a conversation about the issue first.

Easier said than done many would say. No.

It does take courage and skill to speak your truth to power. However the key is connecting the issue to values.

We often try to change others or set boundaries based on our values (what’s important to me). Yet, we need to acknowledge that people don’t willingly change unless something they value is at stake.

If by offending someone I put something of value to me at risk, I will be more willing to change to protect what’s valuable to me. Everyone, no matter how altruistic, is motivated at some level by self-interest or the desire to survive.

It can be challenging to view the issue from another person’s perspective. If you draw a blank when you wonder “what value is at risk for them,” it probably means you don’t know them.

Here are four tips for developing the skill of speaking your truth to power:

  • Remind yourself that your goal is to “build a deeper connection with the other person”;
  • Be in tune with the value(s) of the other person in the specific context and frame the issue from their perspective (what they value);
  • Start the conversation by focusing on the value at risk and avoid beginning with your interpretation;
  • Be open to changing your perception (interpretation), by inviting them to communicate their perspective.

Assertiveness takes practice. It is a firm pathway for speaking truth to power.

Contact us at 1.866.377.0165 to book a mini-course on “Speaking Truth to Power” or to gain access to a 15 minute video that you can use to lead a team discussion.

You can also request a quote: USA or Canada.

Generation Attitude Adjustment

When you feel frustrated with a person of a different generation, try to balance out the negative thoughts with positive ones. Researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe describe generations as part of a repeating cycle of “people moving through time” (1991, p. 23); and the “lesson of the cycle is that each generational type specializes in its own unique brand of positive and negative endowments” (1991, p. 39).

Common Complaints (Cons):               Pros

Millennials are always on their phones > They’re good with tech and multitasking

                                                                    > They’re creative/innovative.

Boomers are behind with tech and        > They’re experienced and have a different set of skills.

don’t want to learn new skills                > They’re good with face-to-face communication.


Discrimination and any other form of workplace mistreatment based on age crosses a legal boundary.

Could your attitude toward people of a different generation cause you to cross a legal boundary?


Challenge: Consider how a generationally diverse work environment can benefit your productivity? (diverse communication styles and skills, perspectives, experiences, etc).

Boomers & Millennials: Capitalizing on the benefits of a generationally diverse work climate

When we think about generational differences in the work environment, we often think of the challenges that derive from adjusting to generation diversity.

However, researchers have found that our focus should be less on adapting and more on understanding. According to Dr. Kimberly Moss, an international consultant and researcher in the area of inter-generational dynamics, if we learn how each generation works (literally), both our communication and teamwork will reap the benefits.

Dr. Moss’s article, Decoding Generational Discourse: Cracking the Code to Improve Communication Across Generations, focuses on the following concepts and discusses how each are understood from the perspectives of various generations: respect, accountability, loyalty, engagement, and coaching. This post breaks down Dr. Moss’ argument on respect.

Members of one generation often complain of disrespect from colleagues of a different generation. Dr. Moss suggests that one problem could be that “respect is defined very differently by each generation.” Here’s a chart that breaks down Dr. Moss’ arguments across generations.

*dates are only estimated as there are currently no clearly defined ranges.


Dr. Moss’ solution for ensuring everyone feels respected:

“Talk to each other.

Acknowledge assumptions and differing definitions.

Tell each other

how you define respect,

how you show respect,

how you understand respect, and

your understanding of various behaviors.”

How does/can your team benefit from age diversity?