I’ve been guilty of it, buying into the negative Millennial stereotype. I’m proud to have worked through the issue by adopting a learning mindset. We inherently have two choices; we can fester and rot or learn and grow. I suggest the latter.
Stereotype: Millennials are lazy, always trying to take short cuts!
If you found a more productive approach to perform any task at the same or higher quality, would you adopt it? One thing the Millennial generation is getting a bad rap for is something that we should give them credit for or at least realize that we probably don’t like it because it makes us feel threatened. It can be threatening to know that someone with far less experience has found a way to improve productivity and you haven’t. I’ve seen plenty of laziness from peers and friends in my life, but it was never attached to us as a stereotype. I’m born in the Gen X range and have no interest working the hours my father did, let alone retire at age 71. I don’t consider it lazy; I’m embracing the great opportunity ahead of a global economy and remote work when it’s convenient. Every generation will look to improve on the quality of life of the previous one. This is to be celebrated, not criticized.
Stereotype: Millennials want to be promoted without paying their dues! They want their first million before turning 30!
Back in the 90s the management focus was around automation and efficiency as the internet and computing power took off. Companies prioritized this focus and we all applauded the benefits to both employee and employer. 20 years later when a brilliant young Millennial mind comes up with a fantastic idea that ends up with the same benefits of efficiency and automation, they are called out for not “paying their dues”. Once again this comes back to a hint of jealousy by a threatened individual who went through a hell of a time to get to where they are in their career. If someone else can avoid “paying their dues” because the dues are awful to pay, I say kudos! Let’s remember to not project our own frustrations on others. Let’s give credit where it is due. Great new ideas, products, systems, methodologies, Apps, services, benefit everyone, and those that are the producers should be rewarded accordingly. Regardless of the age of the individual lets support and applaud new things that brighten our lives.
Ageism can be applied both directions, attacking a Millennial based on their age just as irrational as firing someone because they’ve past their perceived career prime. Leadership effectiveness and age don’t always directly correlate. Leaders need to figure out how to transform from their current state to an improved more effective state regardless of age. At B Inspired we always coach individuals to focus on their journey to inspire regardless of age. We also promote a learning approach to your career and personal life as nobody really enjoys working or living with a judgmental a**hole (pardon my directness). Embrace the great improvements set forth by the younger generation as it will lead directly to what we at B Inspired are all about:
Develop. Transform. Inspire.
Brett Bourgon, RCCTM
President, B Inspired Leadership Coaching