The Natural Consequence of Natural Consequences

Posted On May 9, 2013

So here’s an interesting one – at least from my perspective as a parent and as a speaker on generational topics.  For 15 years I’ve been working with largely Boomer business leaders who are exasperated with the way younger generations behave in the business world.  Time and again, I’ve considered – and occasionally pondered aloud – that the employees who don’t want to pay their dues and expect to be praised for showing up on time were raised with participation trophies and an “as long as you’re happy” mantra by the very people (collectively) who are now their employers and complaining about their work ethic. Hmmmm.

A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin makes the case even more explicitly, as acknowledged in a story by

Today’s teenagers are more materialistic and less interested in working hard than the baby boomers were in their teens, according to a new study. But sorry, boomers, the researchers say it’s probably your fault for creating a culture that breeds narcissism and entitlement.

Placing blame doesn’t solve the problem, and to be fair there is more than parenting style at the heart of the discussion. The bottom line is that businesses need these Millennials in order to stay successful.  But how can you engage a workforce whose members demonstrate “a growing discrepancy between the desire for material rewards and the willingness to do the work usually required to earn them”?

I suggest that business leaders key into the many positive attributes of Millennials. This generation is typically confident, high-achieving and group-oriented – three characteristics that provide some insight into how to structure assignments and communications to achieve the results you need.

Categories: Generations, Parenting, Workplace