Are the Stereotypes about Millennials True?

November 18, 2013


There are a lot of stereotypes running around about Millennials in the workplace. Are they true? See what Brad Karsh, coauthor of Manager 3.0, has to say.

The millennial generation is comprised of more than 75 million Americans born between 1981 and 2000.  It’s hard to speak on behalf of more than 75 million people, and certainly there will be exceptions.

We always joke that my millennial co-author, Courtney Templin, is a Traditionalist stuck in the millennial time trap.  However, each of the generations is shaped by the society and culture in which its members were raised.  Even if Courtney’s company loyalty echoes that of a Traditionalist, she grew up trying to memorize the words and remember the trite dance moves of New Kids on the Block and Wilson Phillips, while I – a member of Generation X – nearly cracked my neck rocking out to Nirvana and Boston.

You likely will be working across all generations.  Maybe you manage employees who are older than you, and you likely will have  Millennials who report into you.  Each generation approaches work differently and to succeed as a manager, you need to understand the driving forces and styles of each group.  However, keep in mind that although the generalizations about each generation can give you tips and hints for how to best work with an individual, you don’t want to assume that every boomer wants to be managed the same way or that every millennial fits into the millennial box.  People need to be managed differently based on their experience level, attitude, motivation level, and personality style.  Furthermore, you can’t fall into the trap of managing people how you would like to be managed.  The business golden rule is to “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” The more awareness and understanding you have of the individual styles of your bosses, colleagues, and direct reports, the better you can manage, lead, and succeed in the workplace.

Find out what generational expert Haydn Shaw has to say about the difference between making generalizations about generations and perpetuating stereotypes.

Like this post? You might also like this post by coauthor Courtney Templin.

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

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