Myth #2: Millennials don’t respect authority

by Modis on July 16, 2013

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In part two of our ongoing exploration into the myths and realities of Millennials in the workforce, we debunk the perception that respect isn’t a two-way street with Generation-Y.

Myth: Millennials don’t respect authority

Millennials grew up in an environment where authority figures told them everything they did was amazing. Other generations believe Millennials will expect this in the workplace and when they don’t get it, they may become difficult to work with and disrespectful. They think Millennials have no respect for your job title and corner office, and see your promotion as something you were given merely because you have connections.

This thinking is actually far from the truth. 

Reality: Millennials have great respect for leaders

This myth is BUSTED! The reality is that millennials value a leader who shows great passion for their team & their work.

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are just as likely to value and mind authority as older generations. In fact, a survey conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership shows that far more Millennials respect authority than Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers.

What Millennials don’t have much respect for, however, is old-school authoritarian thinking and “Why? Because I said so” attitudes. Doling out aggressive orders without explanation doesn’t go over so well with Generation-Y — or with the other generations for that matter. Millennials instead value direction rooted in experience and wisdom, and will readily follow the leadership of employers who show passion for their work, intelligence, and drive to push their team upwards.

Regular feedback on their performance is something Millennials crave, and it helps keep them from losing productivity to uncertainty and self-doubt. A single year-end performance review just won’t cut it. Constructive criticism is just as valuable to Millennials as praise for a job well done. If they hit a home run on a project, show your appreciation for the work they did. Likewise, if their performance needs some work, broach the subject tactfully and let them know what you’d like to see from them.

Additionally, managers who take the time to show their employees they truly care about the direction of the company and are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the grunt work along with their employees get a great response. Millennials want to work for someone who sees the workplace as a team, especially when that team has a clear, unified purpose. When you can show them you care about leading that team, you earn their respect.

Stay tuned for more Millennial mythbusting & register for our webinar!

Did you enjoy today’s mythbusting as much as we did? Let us know your thoughts & feelings about this generation of the workforce in the comments section below! For more debunking, be sure to check back this Thursday as we reveal the reality of Myth #3: Millennials have no sense of company loyalty.

There’s still time to also register for our free upcoming webinar: The Myths and Realities of Managing Millennials in the Workforce on Wednesday, July 30!

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