They’re often misunderstood. Ambition is mistaken for impatience. Passion mistaken for bloody mindedness. Honesty mistaken for arrogance. Generation Y are often given a bad rap and commonly referred to the ‘me’ generation, however in my experience, I would refer to them as the hungry generation.
In most workplaces now you see the fresh faced ambitious faces of Generation Y. They are most likely well educated and from my observations very mature for their years. The generations before them often complain they are hard to ‘manage’ and they have difficulties understanding them. They complain about their lack of loyalty and lackluster approach to their work. They struggle with the Gen Y’s because the Gen X and Baby Boomers expect them to behave as they did at their age, take instruction, wait your turn, earn your stripes and do you what your told.
And therein lies the problem.
If you are trying to ‘manage’ Generation Y, you’re more than likely going to manage them out the door. We need to disrupt our thinking and shake up our leadership strategies as these people are looking to be inspired and empowered – not managed.
In recent interviews with fresh-faced talent, each and every one of them explained they were leaving their current workplace because they were pigeon holed and not receiving the development or opportunity that inspired them. They also spoke of the desire to be working in a company that had strong leadership. They wanted to be inspired and wanted to have a leader to look up to and ‘be like’ one day. Don’t we all? These candidates are polite, engaging, know what they are looking for and are hungry to grow and learn. They have an opinion and are happy to share it and hear others opinions. They want to collaborate and be surrounded by a team that is supportive and working towards a common goal. They want to succeed and be part of a great workplace.
This is what we want from our team don’t we? We want people to be hungry and empowered to be the best they can be – don’t we? Or do we want them to be like us (Gen X and Baby Boomers)?
The question remains to be answered in my mind as so often people are challenged by these ambitious Gen Y’s to the point they will stifle rather than elevate. I don’t understand this way of thinking.
To get the best out of this generation we need to change our thinking and lead. And I mean truly lead. Empower and influence. Mentor and encourage. Allow people to inject their personality and style within your business framework and boundaries. Listen and engage with them. They have a voice and they want to be heard. They are hungry to be lead and developed which is a huge opportunity for true leaders to make a difference to the generations who follow us.
Embrace the opportunity. These people are hungry and our future world needs more leaders.