I’m a millennial and all of the stereotypes you hear about us being entitled, selfish, lazy, uninspired is quite well, I guess you could say “doesn’t apply to all.” Maybe it does apply to some millennials. Maybe even most, but could it apply to other generations? Yes, it could.
I believe millennials want to see purpose in what they’re being told to do. They want to remove the “do more with less” mentality. Why is it always more with less? Why can’t it be do what’s possible with what you have?
Do millennials question what they do? I believe so. I certainly do, but it’s not to avoid doing it. It’s to question why it’s done this way when perhaps another way could be better. Easier. More resourceful. I mean, isn’t that what innovation is about? After all, didn’t that mentality birth the technology boom?
My work ethic is found on the same values of many previous generations. I believe in working hard for the things I want and deserve. I believe in contributing. The world doesn’t owe me anything. I owe it. Why? Because we were never born to work individually. We were born to thrive as a team and with that, my attitude, my purpose is to help others be better, do better and know better. Life isn’t about me. It happens because of me and selfishness is not a normal operation of our hearts. It’s created and cultured from people who think of only themselves first. A toxic way to live. My children will learn to put others first even when others’ desire is to take, take, take. When my eulogy is read I will not be known as the dude that only thought about himself above others. What a horrible way to be remembered, but yet, there are those who choose to live that way.
What does this have to do with millennials? Perhaps we’ve been trying to contain them into a society that doesn’t want change. A culture content with how things are. Perhaps the millennials have it right and the rest of the world has it wrong. We’ve evolved this far. Why stop here? Millennials are the future leaders. Regardless if you think they feel entitled, you have to lead them. YOU have to be selfless and help develop them to be successful when they do transition into leading. When they question things, educate them. When they have ideas, listen to them. When they challenge the status quo, learn from a viewpoint that isn’t yours. Use their perspective and strengths to mold them into leaders.
So we have some, maybe most, that really do want bean bags in the office and free stuff, but their capability is no different than any other generation. I’m not trying to justify those that really do act selfishly and feel entitled, but there are some us that don’t act in ‘that’ way.
Leadership is universal. It applies to every generation and no matter what a generation is like, leadership could be the answer to moving them forward. So lead well.