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9 Common Misconceptions About Gen-Y Employees

9 Common Misconceptions About Gen-Y Employees

Gen-Y employees are entering the workforce at astounding rates. Many of them are looking for a full-time job or simply for the perfect internship opportunity to boost their resume and embark on the journey towards a fulfilling career. However, some employers have found this group difficult to deal with due to generational gaps and miscommunication.

Generation-Y

    No one likes to see the way they are used to dealing with the workplace change so suddenly but as millennials begin to enter part of your workforce, you must realize that if you wish to remain competitive and productive, you must keep an open mind, be willing to make some changes, and clear up these common misconceptions:

    1. They are only interested in making money.

    While it is true Gen-Y employees are coming out of school with $1 trillion in student debt, money is not their highest motivating factor. Millennials have chosen their field of study hoping to gain a career. While money is a good incentive, chances are your Gen-Y employee is hoping to learn and grow from the opportunity you are giving him or her.

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    2. They are difficult to train.

    Many employers make the mistake of thinking Gen-Y employees are inexperienced or need to be walked through step-by-step. They don’t want you to teach them how to do their job step-by-step. Most millennials value the joys of learning from experience. They’d rather have someone they can go to with their questions than a micro-manager holding their hand.

    3. They switch jobs often because they become bored easily.

    Yes, it is true on average Gen-Y employees are switching jobs every two years. However, this isn’t because they are bored or can’t find a place to settle. Keep in mind millennials grew up with tools, such as the internet, and many more opportunities to travel abroad than past generations. Gen-Y have a thirst for life, a need to experience new things and they hope to do so while they are young. (No, it’s just that they want to try more things while they still can)

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      4. They have no respect for leaders in the workplace.

      Gen-Y did not grow up with parents who demanded to be respected. The idea that one should automatically respect superiors is alien to most Gen-Y employees. They don’t want to just mindlessly follow someone because they are told to. Instead, Gen-Y employees want to know they can trust their authority. They want to feel the person they are under is capable, hard working, and deserves his or her position. You can’t demand deeply-rooted respect from a Gen-Y employee; it’s something you must earn.

      5. They will not accept constructive criticism.

      It’s not that millennials can’t take yearly or monthly reviews. Most of them prefer to have praise be given on the spot, or corrections being made on the spot. They cannot fix something they are doing wrong if you do not tell them, and they hope you don’t wait until the year-end review to break the news.

      6. They are self-centered.

      Gen-Y were raised by a set of doting parents and were taught about self-awareness and the joys of being an individual. Yes, they may be looking out for themselves much of the time but who isn’t? Gen-Y employees are simply bolder about it. Many of the possible missteps that can arise are easily solved through ample communication.

      7. They refuse to follow directions.

      You’ve told your Gen-Y employee how to do something and he or she went off and did it their own way AND the wrong way. Your Gen-Y employees are used to having a vast array of options at their fingertips. They’ve been taught there’s an infinite amount of ways to get from point A to point B. While you are not to relinquish all structure and control, some flexibility and compromise is in order. Your Gen-Y employees will be more productive and serve you better if you allow them to put an individual spin on the tasks at hand.

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        8. They want too many commodities in the workplace.

        Gen-Y employees have grown up in an environment that took lessons from the past. Their college education includes lessons on how to work more productively and that doesn’t always translate to working harder. It’s not that they expect you to provide them with a live-in mattress, but rather that they understand the downside of a 9 to 5 day. They know the loss of yield and damage to the environment that comes with commuting, or the loss of productivity that comes from separating employees with dimly-lit cubicles. It is said that by 2025, more than 75% of the workforce will be composed of millennials, this means workplaces will have to evolve into friendlier, greener, and more productive spaces that take into account both the psychological and physical well-being of their human resources.

        9. They cannot be trusted to stay off social media.

        In a survey conducted by Cisco, 56% of millennials said that if a company bans social media, they wouldn’t work there. Increasing productivity by banning small leisurely activities and communication devices immediately lets your workers know you don’t trust them. Compared to past generations, millennials have enjoyed higher levels of freedom in all aspects of life, so banning social media, is the equivalent of prohibiting a telephone call. Being in the work environment comes with surveillance already, and delivering results is as important to millennials as it is to other employees. Make your gen-Y employee feel like he or she cannot be trusted and their productivity will reflect it.

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          As a Millennial leadership speaker, I have found the most common misconceptions of Gen-Y come from the lack of communication in a multi-generational workplace. These hurdles can be overcome by holding multi-generational training with your workforce. Help them communicate with each other using terms that everyone can understand. By learning each others’ perspective, there will be less conflict in the workplace as teams will become stronger through communication.

          What are some problems that you are seeing with Millennials or Gen-Y coming into the workplace?

          Featured photo credit: flickr via flickr.com

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          Joel Goldstein

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          Last Updated on June 5, 2020

          10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

          10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

          When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss — you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

          However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

          You see, a boss’s main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

          A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

          Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

          1. Leaders Are Compassionate; Bosses Are Cold

          It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

          Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

          Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

          A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

          If people feel that you are being open, honest, and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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          2. Leaders Say “We”; Bosses Say “I”

          Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

          Let me explain:

          A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

          A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern-day workplace.

          3. Leaders Invest in People; Bosses Use People

          Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

          Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

          Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others and note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

          Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

          4. People Respect Leaders; People Fear Bosses

          Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

          A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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          What’s the bottom line?

          Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

          5. Leaders Give Credit Where It’s Due; Bosses Only Take Credit

          Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

          Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

          You might be wondering how you can get started:

          • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
          • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
          • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

          6. Leaders See Delegation as Their Best Friend; Bosses See It as an Enemy

          If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

          Delegation equates to trust, and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

          Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

          Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called the self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

          In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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          You can learn more about how to delegate in my other article: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders).

          7. Leaders Work Hard; Bosses Let Others Do the Work

          Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the most difficult tasks when the need arises.

          Here’s the deal:

          Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

          The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go,” a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go,” showing that you are totally willing to help and support them.

          8. Leaders Think Long-Term; Bosses Think Short-Term

          A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

          Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

          For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

          9. Leaders Are Like Colleagues; Bosses Are Just Bosses

          Another word for a colleague is a collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

          Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

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          As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

          10. Leaders Put People First; Bosses Put Results First

          Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook, even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

          Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

          Here’s what I mean by process over people:

          Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

          Final Thoughts

          Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

          This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

          Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

          Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

          For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

          More About Leadership

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

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