The complaints about the younger generation are cliché and include concerns about their alleged unwillingness to work hard and pay their dues, along with their unrealistic expectations about career progression, work environment and work-life balance. These are the same universal complaints that every generation of elders shares about the up-and-coming crop of young workers. Given time, the concerns fade for a few years until the generations shift once again.
The news reports certainly feed the stereotypes of the younger generation, with scenes of office partying, endless texting, and interviews with young workers expressing their expectations of running departments, divisions and companies sooner rather than later.
While there are elements of truth in some descriptions of the behaviors and expectations of the Millennials, concentrating on these points will blind leaders to their true potential.
Consider these three major advantages that this generation has over others:
1. This is a technologically savvy generation, in an era when technology is the tool of competition and technological drivers are constantly reshaping how and where we do just about everything.
2. The Millennial generation grew up with texting and instant messaging, and ubiquitous use of the Web at a point in time when businesses are just discovering and beginning to harness the power of social networks.
3. Those of us who came of age while the world was truly becoming a global marketplace still relate to a style of conducting and running businesses that will never return. This new generation grew up and developed socialization and communication skills with tools and technologies that the more experienced among us still find remarkable and even a bit frightening.
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