Gen Y believes they ARE working hard and proving themselves…

Managing multiple generationsBoomers believe way to get ahead is to outwork everyone else. They’re the first into the office and the last to leave. As a matter of fact, they are there way before we get there…(that’s how they know we’re 5 minutes late).

Heck, a lot of us think they actually live at the office…guess that explains the smell!

As most experts will tell you, one key piece of motivating Gen Y is to make sure they understand how what they’re doing ties in with the overall organizational goals.

I think the problem is that most organizations either don’t think they don’t need to share the organizational goals with young workers, or they think they have.

Both are usually wrong.

So how are Gen Yers supposed to navigate the organizational landscape? How are we supposed to know what it takes to succeed? The Boomers think we’re too young and the Xers think we’re too dumb to ‘get it’. Unfortunately, the way we act often solidifies the stereotype in their minds.

I know what you’re thinking…”That’s BS!!!” “This is the way I am! My parents told me I could do anything I set my mind to and these yoyos are in the way! Seniority is dumb! Promotions should be based on performance!”

It think all 4 of the generations in the workplace today can agree on one basic thing: Performance should determine your success.

The problem: all 4 define perf./success differently.

Traditionalists: Success = fitting in (almost all are military vets)

Boomers: Success = Job security (achieved by working harder than anyone else)

Gen X: Success = Having the most skills so that you’re marketable to many employers

Gen Y: Success = Making the most impact to the organization – RIGHT NOW!

Who knows how this will shake out over the next few years? I certainly don’t. I do know that these definitions vary wildly and cause a ton of headache in the workplace.

Do you agree? Do you fit into the stereotypical definitions for your generation?

Now let’s talk about how we need to act so that all 4 play nice…someone has to be the leader…why can’t it be us?

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2 thoughts on “Gen Y believes they ARE working hard and proving themselves…

  1. I know some Gen X types who don’t fit the profile. The point is that generations are a good barometer as a general sense but to understand someone you need to get to know them. If someone is fixated on one way to do things then you will gave bigger problems managing them no matter what Gen they are from.

    I have caught myself stereotyping before and assumptions have gotten me in trouble. Sure, in general the research is sound but I usually don’t out too much stock in it when it comes to managing individuals.

    Thanks for the ideas. Great effort. Are you Gen Y?

    • You’re exactly right Ralph. Individual management is key. The problem is you have to start with the masses and work towards individuals.

      In a perfect world, we would all manage our people as individuals and no one would get their feelings hurt b/c you’re treating them differently…sigh…

      And yes, I’m a Y…but barely. I have a lot of X tendencies.

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