As I embarked on my sixth MBA unit tonight, to no surprise the topic of leadership (or lack of) emerged its pretty head yet again. Listening to the lecturer talk passionately about her subject matter, issues of skill shortage and talent retention dominated the conversations.
It wasn’t long before the classroom debate threw a jab at Gen Y, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed, as I for one am your biggest advocate.
Gen X and more so the Baby Boomers need a reality check and a serious shift in mindset if they are to attract and retain our up and coming leaders of the future – the Gen Y. Instead of embracing their impressive educational backgrounds (most with multiple degrees), they know what they want and are not afraid to tell you in the job interview. My goodness, if only I had your confidence when I was 21!
How can this be a bad thing? Seriously, how are organizations going to manage skill shortage and talent retention if our current leaders (Gen X and Baby Boomers) don’t adjust their attitude towards Gen Y?
Brushing egos aside for one second, we could and should use Gen Y’s intelligence to our advantage rather than feeling intimidated and throwing the good old …….settle down sunshine you’re getting a little too big for your shoes or the classic…..you’ll get your chance, come back to me once you’ve gained some experience ….. climbing the traditional corporate ladder.
I feel for you (Gen Y) because I too was faced with such challenges as I tried to enter the workforce following business college. The questions were brutal….What make’s you think you can do the job? You have zero experience? If we pay you this much, how are you going to work your way up the payroll ladder? There are people here who have been doing your job for 15 years and earn less than that? You’ll never get there! You’ll never earn that much!…Blah…blah…blah so negative it was crazy.
Seriously, you can have 20 years experience and have sucked at your job and based on this you’re going to let go of an enthusiastic young passionate person who’s willing to learn the ropes and be given a chance? Why, why on earth would you say no to that? Get over yourself and stop feeling threatened, or intimidated by such intellect and confidence.
Yes there needs to be a balance, but there also needs to be an understanding from our current leaders that if we are to adequately address skill shortage we have to take these young graduates under our wing and mentor them into our roles, so that we can step down into retirement knowing we have the right people to lead our organizations into the future.
Gen Y is armed with current knowledge relevant to your organization right NOW. Considering most change processes within organizations fail due to deeply embedded behaviours and personality traits, which may have worked 30 years ago will not cut the bacon in today’s organizations.
Peace and respect Gen Y! I hear you and am with you.