November 30, 2021

Managing and Leading Generation Y

As an Executive Coach, it is not uncommon for me to hear from Baby Boomers and even Generation Xers the ever-pressing question: “How do I lead and manage Generation Y? These young kids are driving me crazy, and I have no idea what to do with them!”

The answer to this question is actually pretty simple…you let Generation Y know that you care about them…that you are listening and you respect them as human beings.

Isn’t that what we all want?

As I was leaving the ICF Conference on Saturday, a man approached me and said “I enjoyed your presentation yesterday. But, you did not really get into how entitled and spoiled Generation Y really is.” I then responded “Ah yes…the entitlement question.” He looked at me and laughed, and I said…”You know…these young leaders are great kids and are going to be great adults. They were raised by parents who have hovered over them, challenged them to be super competitive, telling them they can be anything, do anything or have anything…and they can have it now! So, given that…what do you think the answer is to your question? How do you think we should all handle this attitude of entitlement?”

The man looked at me and said “I’ll have to think about it. Have a good day.”

So, the question on leading and managing Generation Y honestly lies in managing Gen Y’s expectations…having a very frank conversation with them about their reality while offering them enough of a stretch to keep life interesting. As older leaders, we also have to start taking responsibility for leading and parenting Generation Y and helping to create this sense of entitlement. As a Baby Boomer who is a parent of 3 Generation Y adults, I am here to say…the answer to managing and leading Generation Y rests in our ability to listen to them, respect them, honor their tremendous talent and then teaching them how to lead others…while admitting that we played a huge role in helping to sculpt the way Gen Y thinks and lives in the world. To throw in the towel and speak to them as if they are irreverent will never work. This generation is going to change our culture, so we need to all be prepared to be role models…to learn how to lead them and honor them and bring out the best in them

For more information on this topic, please visit our Millennial Leaders Website: .

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