Archives For Generation iY

Have you heard the latest Gallup Poll about American’s in the workplace? It’s a little sad to read, but most people just aren’t happy at their job.

Generation iY

Just 30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report, which surveyed more than 150,000 workers during 2012. The rest…not so much. A little more than half of workers (52 percent) have a perpetual case of the Mondays—they’re present, but not particularly excited about their job. The remaining 18 percent are actively disengaged or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton put it in the report, “roam the halls spreading discontent.” Worse, Gallup reports, those actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity.

For those of us who manage and lead young people from Generation iY (those born since 1990), I think some solutions lie within our reach. Young people don’t necessarily require lots of money; in fact, perks like flexibility and time off speak louder than cash to them. Young adults tend to be happiest when:

1.    They work on something they believe in.

Kids often don’t want a job—they want a cause to invest in. Can you show them how their work is significant and really matters?

2.    They are with people they enjoy.

Kids want to feel like family or friends with those they work alongside. Is there a way you can foster authentic community and still get the job done?

3.    They use their primary gifts and talents.

Kids—and adults for that matter—will like their work better if they are in their strength zone, applying their gifts to projects that count. Do you let them do this?

4.    They can see results.

Kids are used to immediate feedback, from video games to texts from friends. Can you demonstrate any results from the work they’ve done?

This is just a start. What have you noticed that is magnetic with students at work?


Generation iY


Check out “Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future” to learn other ways to engage young employees at work.

Despite what you’ve read about millennials in the workplace, as a generation they genuinely believe they can change their communities…and the entire world for that matter. Even today, as our economy continues to struggle and unemployment is still high—these kids remain optimistic about what they can and will do about it all. What’s more…this is true for the emerging generation worldwide.


Fast Company magazine reports, “Young people in the U.S. care less about the environment and are more optimistic than their counterparts in other countries. They’re more concerned about the economy than anything else, but they still believe their quality of life is better than their parents’ generation. And through it all, the vast majority believes they can make a difference in their local communities.

“This is all according to a survey of 12,000 Millennials in 27 countries (ages 18 to 30) from Telefónica that probed respondents on their feelings about technology, education, personal freedom, and more. The overarching message: this generation has a lot of hope, in spite of the many global crises staring them down.” Highlights of the study, included these findings:

American Millennials are worried about the effects of globalization; 58% believe globalization only generates opportunities for select individuals. And 76% think outsourcing is bad for the US economy.

Millennials all over the world agree on the value of technology: 83% think technology has made it easier to get a job, and 87% say that technology has made it easier to overcome barriers. At the same time, however, 62% think technology has widened the gap between rich and poor.

In most of the world, Millennials are more concerned about the economy than all other issues. But in the U.S. they’re the most concerned: 46% of respondents think the economy is the most pressing issue, while 12% think education is the biggest problem. In Western Europe, people are concerned about the economy (34%) and social inequality (15%). In the Middle East and Africa, respondents are most worried about terrorism (19%) and political unrest (13%).

Here’s something else Millennials can agree on: problems with government. In every region surveyed, most respondents said that the government doesn’t reflect their values and beliefs. Overall, Millennials believe the best way to make a difference in the world is to improve education, followed by protecting the environment and eliminating poverty.

An impressive 62% of respondents believe they can make a local difference, and 40% think they can make a global difference. But—outside parts of Europe and Asia–the majority of Millennials believe they can make a global difference.

My questions for you are:

1. What are you doing to bolster this optimism for students to change the world?

2. How do you balance their idealism with a realistic action plan to execute change?


Back in February, I wrote the blog, “Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them”. Today, we are going to discuss ten ideas that you can use to lead better as a parent, educator, or coach. 


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Episode Summary

In today’s society, we are a very engaged group of adults; I believe we are so engaged that we may have created some unintended consequences as a result of our style of leadership. This podcast focuses on ten ideas that I would use, to correct our mistakes that we’ve made as teachers, coaches, and parents.

Idea #1: Don’t Think Control, Think Connect

  • Our natural tendency is to govern our kids actions and decisions. Oftentimes, become control freaks.
  • Control is a myth. Studies show that parents who over-program their child’s schedule often breed kids who rebel as teens.
  • Seek connection with your students, to earn the opportunity to influence.

Idea #2: Stop thinking Inform, think Interpret

  • This is the first generation of kids that do not need adults for access to information
  • Kids have content, without context
  • Provide a balanced perspective
  • “They don’t need us to access information, but to process information” –Len Sweet

Idea #3: Don’t think Entertain, think Equip

  • Adopt the perspective, “How can I equip my young person for the future?
  • Happiness is a by-product, not a pursuit.
  • Move from busying kids for happiness, to enriching kids for fulfillment.

Idea #4: Don’t think do it For them, do it With them

  • “You can do it, we can help” –Home Depot
  • “Healthy and robust self-esteem actually comes from achievement, not merely affirmation.” -APA
  • Don’t do it yourself, transfer the skill.

Idea #5: Don’t think Impose, think Expose

  • Kids have been overwhelmed by options, which we have used to create fences and boundaries.
  • We need to give them opportunities, that they cannot pass up.
  • Create scarcity and ownership.

Idea #6: Don’t think Prescriptive, think Descriptive

  • Encourage your young people to create a goal and reach it.
  • Provide opportunities for young people to own their method.
  • Help develop their ambition and creativity.

Idea #7: Don’t think Protect, Think Prepare

  • Think long-term- “I want to get you ready, for the world that awaits you.”
  • “80% of last year senior college class intends to move home after graduation.” -Baltimore Sun
  • Greatest gift you can give your child is the ability to get along without you.

Idea #8: Don’t think Tell, think Ask

  • Kids are not ready for the freedom to answer questions. We must encourage self-regulation and lead with questions so they can own their journey.
  • When we lead with questions, we force young people to think and choose on their own.

Idea #9: Don’t think Cool, think Real

  • Kids don’t want cool adults, they want you to be real, authentic, and relevant.
  • We need to be self-aware to let kids see what life should look like in their future.

Idea #10: Don’t think Lecture, think Lab

  • In science class, lecture is often the boring part. Lab on the other hand, is more exciting because it is engaging.
  • Kids aren’t looking for a lecture; they want experiences to try out what they know.
  • Don’t transmit an idea, transform a life.

World-wide, psychologists are discovering the down-side of our obsession over kid’s self-esteem, safety, and happiness. Personally, I want to be a leader, teacher, and parent that young people see as someone who has made these corrections; that are doing this Interpret, not Inform, Expose not Impose, and want to Pull along, not Push along…and that is my wish for you as well.

I encourage you to write down these 10 ideas, so that you can really think about changes that you can make to lead your kids better. Focus on 1-2 of these areas, and I am confident you will see growth in your own leadership journey.


Check out Growing Leaders. If you’re new to the podcast or blog, visit our website to learn more about the resources Growing Leaders offers to equip those who lead the next generation.

What topic would you like for us to address on the next episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast? Leave a comment.

I want to start a conversation. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the role of Facebook at work.  According to a new study, most employees consider using Facebook in the office not as a luxury or a business tool, but as a right.  Researchers found that nearly a third of employees are spending an hour or more a day on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets during work hours. “Intelligent Office,” a virtual office research company, surveyed over 1,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. A quarter of the workers also reported they prefer not to work for a company that banned social media at work.


So, if your young staff members are like their peers, they feel it is their right to use Facebook on your time. Because of this, many employers feel compelled to push back and curb the use of Facebook during office hours. It becomes a power play.

In July of 2009, a Nucleus Research study found that Facebook interaction in the workplace is cutting employee productivity. On the other hand, you can find loads of articles on-line on how Facebook can increase productivity and sales at work. To put it another way, young employees may see Facebook the way we Baby Boomers saw our Rolodex back when we first started our careers.  It’s their network. It’s how they make contact with people who might just be a future customer if treated right. The bottom line? Young employees feel entitled to Facebook. Yet, employers often don’t know how to empower them to use it because it’s new territory.

So, let’s talk about it. Tell me what you think. Should we allow Facebook and social media to be used during work time?  Why?


I continue to see something that’s been happening for centuries: an older generation that digs their heels in and resists the changes that the emerging generation brings with them as they become adults. Let’s face it: we adults get stuck in our ways, fall in love with the comfortable and familiar…and see it as the best way to get things done. After all, we thought of it when we were young.

generation iY

Examples of resistance to change abound. Consider the case of Gary Boone. In 1972, as a young engineer at Texas Instruments, Boone came up with the idea for a full computer on a “chip”, later to be called the microprocessor. Boone got a patent on his invention, but he had trouble getting his colleagues interested in his work. He went around T.I. trying to sell the concept, but he was shot down everywhere. Other people looked as a young upstart with a crazy idea.

Finally, Boone made enough noise to get a meeting with T.I.’s top guru on computers. Boone went into his office, sat in front of the expert, and explained his idea for the chip. The expert looked at him with a condescending smile. “Young man,” he said, “don’t you realize that computers are getting bigger, not smaller?”

The same thing happened to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They tried to sell the idea of a “personal computer” to their bosses at Atari and Hewlett-Packard. Their bosses weren’t interested. Their response: “Bunch of hobbyists!”

To be honest, most of you don’t know the names of the “blind” executives at Texas Instruments or Atari or Hewlett-Packard—but we do know the names, Steve Jobs and Gary Boone. They were once young up-starts who had an idea that few older leaders recognized as the way of the future.

I write to remind you of something. Generation iY (the kids born since 1990) are now entering the workforce. When it comes to life-experience, we older folk have much to share with these young people: how to approach colleagues, how to form a strategic plan, how to resolve a conflict…you get the picture. But when it comes to intuition for what’s coming down the pike in terms of products and services…I think we’d do well to listen before we talk. Great companies missed out on the genius of a young Steve Jobs and Gary Boone.

May that never happen to us as we lead the next generation.