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Entitlement is Created, Not Unique to Millennials

By: Heather Hilliard
January 4, 2019 
  4 min read 

Leaders today are too quick to blame the millennials—their work ethic, sense of entitlement and need to be coddled—for performance gaps and behavioural issues.

Unfortunately, what is believed about millennials is the result of gossip and hearsay about them. We repeat what we hear about them as though what we are told is an absolute truth. While certain characteristics are true of many young people, we have to take responsibility for this generation as it is a function of parenting that leads to entitlement, poor impulse control and an inability to receive feedback.

Boomer parents reacted to their authoritarian parents by parenting in a liberal permissive fashion, being overly inclusive and treating kids like friends. These parents tried to be everything their own parents weren’t – empathetic, inclusive, supportive. They worked hard to shield their children from any negative experience by overprotecting them, being cheerleaders and caretakers. They were afraid to let them fail, experience disappointment and accept the reality of their talents and abilities. Millennials are simply acting the way parents and teachers have trained them to behave and be led, not babysat, in order to be successful.

Give Millennials a Chance to Develop

We now know that when parents don’t act as their child’s executive function while they are growing up, it remains undeveloped. This leads to dependency issues as adults, without the ability to take initiative, fear of experimenting, inability to struggle, and the expectation that leaders should take care of them.

Most of the Emotional Intelligence competencies come from our executive function – emotional self-management, accurate self-assessment, social awareness, stress management, impulse control, etc. Many of the complaints you hear about millennials are directly related to low EI as a result of them never having to develop it. Parents that rescued their children from negative experiences didn’t do their children any favors. Leaders who are permissive and let employees define how they are going to work, and what they will and won’t do, are perpetuating the problem.

Leading Millennials

Young humans need guidance, effective leadership, opportunities to grow and develop. They need to be respected, listened to and appreciated for what they can contribute. They need their leaders to define expectations, give feedback, recognize success and be honest about their capabilities. Our goal is not to make them be like us or have the same experiences we had. They have challenges of their own without having to fear hurting our feelings if they don’t act right.

Too many leaders are permissive, acting like colleagues and cheerleaders, creating a mediocre workforce unprepared for the rigors of the career path they have chosen. It’s time to stop lumping millennials together and instead treating them as individual human beings with distinct needs based on their personality type, brain organization, ambitions, etc. As leaders, we must stop blaming millennials and start developing the leadership skills necessary to deal with entitlement, poor performance and other challenging behaviours in order to ensure everyone’s success.

Caliber Leadership Systems specializes in helping leaders and organizations to achieve their potential. Contact us to learn more about our leadership development & coaching programs.

Caliber Leadership Systems is a Toronto & San Diego based firm specializing in behavioural change and leadership development. The co-founders have written over a hundred books on personality development, behavioural change and achieving potential including Who Are You Meant to Be?. Their new book, So, You Think You Can Lead?, was released on April 17, 2019. Get Your Copy Today! Visit our programs page to learn more about our leadership development & coaching programs or contact heather@caliberleadership.com for a free consultation.

Originally Published on LinkedIn – Heather Hilliard’s Profile – December 11, 2018

Read the Full Article  –  Stop Blaming the Millennials