The hushed halls of the nation's biggest businesses are starting to hum with the latest buzzword in management generativity. It's a technique that calls for fostering the growth of the next generation—and may prove a fitting antidote to the greedy, grasping '80s.
By mentoring subordinates and treasuring a company's long-term development, generative employees not only energize the workplace, they also empower themselves, says Massachusetts psychologist Harry Levinson, Ph.D.
Generative managers who teach workers now skills, for example, often move closer to their ego ideal those mental pictures of ideal self we all aspire to—and, as a result, feel more enthusiastic about themselves and their company, says Levinson. At the same time, subordinates also feel motivated pining knowledge they can un to reach their own ego-Weal
Unlike altruism, generativity involves a commitment nd only to volunteering ideas but also to encouraging others to use them, observes Nancy Cotton, Ph.D., a psychologist Harvard Medical School. "Altruism is going out and helping in a soup kitchen. is getting other people to help in that soup kitchen."
But generativity need not be overly complicated, says Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams, Ph.D. "Most people can't make a big splash like Gandhi or Martin Luther King."