The X follows the Y - not just in the alphabet. Also in the succession of generations. Emancipation, growing prosperity, substitutability of the individual formed the baby boomers (born 1950 to 1965). Generation X (1965 to 1980) dominated the revolution, lack of security and growing individuality.
Generation Y (1980 to 1995) are characterized by optimism and self-confidence. Millennials are redefining leadership. In companies, the prejudices are balanced with the challenges and opportunities. Both the previous and the following generation should deal with this.
The Y stands for (WH) Y, for WHY - questioning old things. Generation Y not only challenges the world of work, but above all the leadership world of its superiors.
The often different concept of what constitutes work (fun versus duty) and how work runs (self-determined rather than time clock) leads to conflicts - in the team and in the leadership.
Pampered, self-complacent and far too demanding - according to the testimony of older employees when it comes to Generation Y. Conversely, the Generation X considers it to be not flexible, unstable and unable to enjoy life.
The desire to be self-responsible and to realize oneself is characterized by formal approach, low communication and knowledge that is kept for itself.
Open and fair co-operation is important in order to break the boundaries in all our heads and to search for viable paths in our daily work together. Finally, the Millennials must soon close the gaps when the last baby boomers retire.
The Y-life picture
The secret revolutionaries know that as specialists they are a scarce commodity and are therefore very much in demand. Through self-centered or self-confident, Millennials can deal well with uncertainties.
As an improvisational artist they are valuable for every company. Provided this provides them with options and the independence they need to have fun and be happy. Of this work-life balance, senior executives, who are threatened by burnout, can learn.
It has always been like this
Young employees react suspiciously to statements such as "here you do ...". They take a critical look at hierarchical structures. "I'm the boss here!" is rather counterproductive.
The unconditional devotion to the profession of Generation X is as foreign to them, as humble working by contract, to push overtime and to accept working conditions that do not fit.
Five tips for leading Generation Y
- Regular feedback (like / dis-like): There is no separation between online and offline for millennials. Like every facebook-Message is commented on within minutes, expect constant feedback. Give it right away - not at the annual appraisal.
- Sense and quality of life: The profession does not stand above all. Commitment presupposes recognizing the meaning of the work. Also for the family should be time. Do not deny this balance just because you did not have it yourself.
- The slightly different career: The big career is not always the goal. But careers in the sense of different work areas are definitely in demand. A "sideways career" is very desirable for many in certain phases.
- Leave space: It is very important that you leave the young employees free space in the detailed design of their own work. The generation Y likes clear goals, but feels itself only required and happy, if it can determine the way itself.
- Not so different: The bottom line is that Generation Y is “not that different” than we were or would have liked to be. With the difference that they demand it more consistently. So the tip for managers: stay true to yourself, don't twist and do what is good for all employees. Give sincere appreciation, honest feedback and exactly the amount of freedom that everyone - regardless of their generation - needs!
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