One of the hottest topics in our programs is millennials.  We are constantly asked how to deal with them.  They are the most complained about, least understood generation – at least according to leadership. 

Luckily, we get to interact with leaders, or those who aspire to leadership, in every generational category on a regular basis, and here’s what I have come to realize:  Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Y, or Generation Next, have become the go-to generational category to complain about, to blame everything on that’s wrong in the workplace, and, here’s the irony:  While millennials bear the burden of the blame – they are not the problem.  Did you realize that Generation Z (yes, in fact, there are generational categories after the millennials) were born around 1995, give or take a year depending on the source you reference?  That makes Gen Z’s anywhere from 25-27 down to age eight.

Millennials Play The Game

Through the years millennials have learned the art of complaining and are also becoming masters at the blame game – blaming generations before and after them for various behaviors, so they are not guilt-free in this game of no accountability.

Based on the numbers, Gen Z’s have been in the work world for several years now, many of who serve in leadership positions or are preparing to move into leadership positions.  Odd that no one ever mentions them, and I’m not implying Generation Z is the problem.  I’m saying leadership is the problem.

Leadership Find Excuses

Leadership is finding an excuse, someone to blame for their own inadequacies.  Inadequacies they refuse to acknowledge.  What’s apparent by doing the math is that it’s time to stop looking at any group of people and labeling them as “entitled” or “lazy” or “undependable” or any of the other adjectives that come up.  It’s time to step up and be the leader you promised to be when you took the leadership position.

Now might be a good time to look at all the accusations you have thrown toward this generational group and see if those same characteristics apply to you.  Have you been too lazy to do the work of leadership?  Too lazy to make the effort to build relationships with your employees?  Have you been too lazy to find ways to grow yourself as a leader?

Are you guilty of entitlement?  Did you take your leadership position with the idea that your title would automatically earn you respect from your team, hard work from your team, or any level of motivation from your team? 

Have you been undependable towards your team?  When your employees need a leader that holds people accountable, a leader that pushes them and works with them in their own development, or a leader that tries to understand from their perspective, have you failed them?  Can they depend on you to show up for them and support them each and every day?

Time For Responsibility

It’s time to stop the blame game.  It’s time to step up into your leadership role and realize that if things aren’t running smoothly, if your team isn’t performing optimally, it’s the leader that has work to do.  Leadership is about relationships.  You cannot be successful in leadership if you don’t know relationships, how to build them and how to sustain them.  As a leader it’s time to shift the focus off of any group of individuals and aim it at yourself.  It’s time to start investing in your growth as a leader and in your responsibilities to your team.  If you’re struggling with that it’s time to find a mentor or reach out to LIA Training.

Agree?  Disagree?  We would love to hear your thoughts!

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