January 24, 2022

The 5 Fears that Keep Senior Leaders from Enjoying Gen Y

I am convinced that the quality of our living is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships, and it is not uncommon for our relationships to suffer when we are fearful or we feel threated by another person or group of people.

As I am traveling around the country, I am hearing questions and comments from Baby Boomers which are somewhat on the critical side…criticizing Generation Y for their high expectations, for being able to get the job done quickly and then wanting to kick off early or for Generation Y’s casual attitudes about dress and formal communication.

So…as a coach, when I hear a complaint, I am usually looking a lot deeper, because when there is a complaint, it usually stems from a fear or from a value being charged or violated.

As I have been digging deeper, I have found that there are 5 very common fears that are keeping senior leaders from enjoying their Generation Y colleagues, and they are:

1) Fear of technology. As we all know, Generation Y is the most tech savvy generation alive today. They may be trumped by Gen Z (or the next generation.) But, for now, they are certainly dominating the technology know-how arena while many Baby Boomers are still trying to figure out how to send e-mail or a text message. If you are a senior leader, and if you are afraid of technology, then it’s up to you to get trained up. There are scores of courses being offered around the country on every tech skill under the sun, so if this applies to you, get going on your own continuing education.

2) Fear of job loss. As our Gen Y professionals become more knowledgeable and skillful, there will come a time when people who can no longer perform will be asked to retire early. That is just the way the world works, but it is really not an excuse for calling Gen Y names or feeling threatened about their skill set. It’s time to embrace this generation and get in their as senior leaders and share our wisdom with them.

3) Fear of looking dumb. This is a fear that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, yet there is nothing more unnerving to some senior leaders to be “shown up” in front of their peers by someone who is half their age. And guess what…Gen Y is not out there trying to show up their senior leaders. It just happens. If you are a leader, then it’s up to you to admit when you don’t know something and to be excited that you have a Gen Y on your team who can answer that question. Leaders are only as strong as the people they surround themselves with, and I believe it’s time to start surrounding ourselves with both Gen Y and Gen Z young men and women. They are our future, and they know a lot, but you won’t know this if you keep them at bay.

4) Fear of optimism. Yeah…I know this sounds bizarre, but many senior leaders are just downright pessimistic and to hear the optimism of Gen Y just scares them silly. Many remind me of Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh…”It’s a beautiful day, and I’m going to get sunburned!” I know that times are tough, and I know we are heading into a recession, but we need Gen Y’s optimism right now. We need their creativity, networks and bright spots to pull us through these times.

5) Fear of change. Fear of change is something all humans experience, but the older we get, the more we have a tendency to dig our heels in and stay put. This world is changing, and the Millennials are bringing us new ideas, a new world view, a positive view of diversity, innovation and a way forward that just might not look like what it did 20 years ago…and that’s okay! We are here to evolve and grow, and Generation Y is going to take us in that direction. If you are living with a fear of change, I encourage you to reach out and work with a coach on this one issue. It could be the one thing that is stopping you from building a great relationship with the Millennials in your life.

Today, if you are someone who is living with any of these fears, I recommend that you take out a piece of paper and write out your thoughts around these fears and how they may be getting in the way of your relationships with Generation Y. They are our future, and it’s time to start working with them…not resisting their efforts.

[Read more…]

Gen Y and Emerging Power of User-Generated Content

This presentation is in parts 1-4. From the IDC A/P Panel: “Generation Y and the Emerging Power of User  Generated Content





Gen Y’s Credo: Connectivity

This article on Gen Y connecting on Facebook has sparked quite a bit of chatter about online social networking and its uses and potential misuses.

I believe that this is an opportunity to look at how we can actually leverage Facebook to get to answers more quickly. While I understand the concerns about misusing Facebook to share notes for an exam or to exchange test answers, we have to understand that Gen Y knows how to use these tools when Boomers and even some Gen Xers don’t know the first thing about how to use online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Second Life to improve social capital and as a way to enhance learning and development. My perspective on this is that most Boomers are afraid to use these tools (it is easy to be afraid of something you don’t know how to use).

These tools are SO easy to use, and I believe the benefits far outweigh the risks. We just need to open up the discussion and look at how to use these platforms to our advantage. If Senator Obama (who launched his campaign on You Tube and has a strong presence on Facebook) and IBM (who is using Second Life for training and block parties) can find a way to use these tools in an effective way, why can’t everyone else?


Y -Talk Radio Interview with Gen Y Executive Coaches Bea Fields, Beth Bloomfield and Carol Graser

Political leaders want their votes. Businesses want their disposable income. Organizations want their talent. Generation Y represents over 72 million influencers, and they are a powerful force to be reckoned with. During this interview, published author and corporate writer, Sara Thomas, interviews executive coaches Carol Graser, Beth Bloomfield and Bea Fields about some of the most pressing questions companies are facing about how to best develop The Millennials into future leaders.

For more about host Sara Thomas, visit her blog at SarahThomas.com.

Listen to the audio here:.

Barack Obama Video: Young voters energize election


So…do you notice the way Obama interacts with young voters? Do you hear the words “revolution” being mentioned.

This video shows exactly why young voters are so attracted to Obama..

Younger Folks’ Narcissism May Enliven the Workplace

In The Informed Reader from the Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2007, a bit of research that appeared in The Boston Globe on September 30 says the following:

“The narcissism of the younger generation in the work force might be the shot in the arm corporate America needs, even if it is annoying”…The article closes by saying this:

“There (narcissists) confidence lets them take risks others might balk at.  Narcissists will aslo speed up innovation by pushing bold ideas onto skeptical elders.  However, since narcissists rarely acknowledge their wrong ideas are wrong, the trick will be “to identify the upstarts with the most potential,” and only then, “allow them to run with their ideas.”

A great book on this very topic is one that I feel all leaders should read by Michael Maccoby, author of The Productive Narcissist: The Promise and Peril of Visionary Leadership.  Maccoby points out in his work that narcissists, because they don’t have a great deal of internal restraint and caution, are the ones who usually change the world.

We have been told over and over again that our future is going to be determined by Gen Y…so, maybe their healthy doses of high self regard is just what our world needs in order to go through a radical transformation..

The Boomers Had Their Day. Make Way for the Millennials in the Washington Post

Great article in the Washington Post today:

The Boomers Had Their Day. Make Way for the Millennials.

Studies: Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today

Great article today in USA Today:  Studies:  Arrogance not rampant among young in USA Today.

As I have said before:  Every generation thinks the next generation is more arrogant and narcissistic than the generation before them.  The Gen Y leaders I have met over the last 18 months (and I have met and interviewed about 200) are coming across as generous, hard working, and very dedicated to social causes.  They are also very thoughtful.  Just three weeks ago, Arel Moodie and Bert Gervais called to wish me a Happy New Year and to thank me for supporting them…that meant a lot to me, and I don’t hear my boomer colleagues calling me to say that.   And…if you listen in to the interview below this post with Margaret Regan, she brings up a great point…that Gen Y is saying that they don’t want to live the way their boomer parents did…working 60+ hours per week and being stressed to the max.  So, in my opinion, what some boomers are calling narcissistic and “it’s all about me” may just be  Gen Y’s way of saying “I want to live life first and work second.  I want balance, flexiblity and freedom.  I’m not going to do things your way, working my fingers to the bone, because it will kill me…or at least put me in the sick ward”.  (Don’t we all want that?  Why are we so afraid to ask for that, and why do we then call a generation that is asking for what we all want in life things like lazy, narcissistic and arrogant?)

I believe this to be true…if you look for the negative, you will find it.  If you look for the positive, you will find it.  If you are reading this blog today, I encourage you to get out there and start talking to Gen Y, because I think you might just be surprised at the positives they are bringing to the world.  And…I’m going to say it again “It’s time for us to start working with them…not resisting their efforts!”.

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Margaret Regan, Found of the FutureWork Institute

Would you like to know how our business and corporate landscape will be shifting in the next 5-10 years as young talent (Gen X and Gen Y) moves into the workforce and into key leadership positions? If so, you don’t want to miss this call with Margaret Regan, Founder of the FutureWork Institute , shares her insights from a gobal study her company is conducting on workforce trends, diversity, talent shortages and generational values. Led by Y-Talk host, Bea Fields  and Guest Co-Hosts Beth Bloomfield and Carol Graser of Next Gen Leaders..

Y-Talk Radio Interview with Michael Simmons, Founder of the Extreme Entrepreneursip Education Program: http://ExtremeE.org

Listen in, as we talk with one of America’s top young entrepreneurs, Michael Simmons. Simmons, who has been featured in USA Today and Business Week Magazine, is the CEO of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Tour. Michael and his partner, Sheena Lindahl, takes their entreprenerial message to the country’s top young schools to spread the entrepreneurial mindset. The national tour creates buzz across campus and in the local media. During this call, we discuss what it takes to be highly successful as a budding entrepreneur.

Visit Extreme Entrepreneurship Education  for more information OR find an Extreme E Tour coming to your college campus soon!

And…while you are there, pick up a copy of The Student Success Manifesto (it’s a quick and inspiring read for all ages!)