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Gen Y: love, encourage and reward

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Generation Y, the boomer offspring now entering the work force, has redefined two leadership traits:
  1. Loyalty: Gen Y’s employers rank last behind families, friends, communities and co-workers.

  2. Selflessness: They’re totally, like, into themselves.
“This is the most high-maintenance work force in the history of the world,” comments Bruce Tulgan, the researcher and founder of RainmakerThinking who made his name studying Generation X.

The leadership characteristics you will see in Gen Y:
  • They’re ambitious and demanding. They require productive work from their first day on the job, expecting much of you, your organization and themselves. You also could read this as “needy and entitled,” but treat it as “expectant” and you’ll fare better.

  • They question everything, a core characteristic of innovators. And they’re vocal. If you listen carefully to what they say, you’ll hear something new, and you can realign your products and services for future markets.

  • They’re highly effective in teams. And why shouldn’t they be? They grew up doing group activities. The flip side, of course, is that they need a whole team to accomplish anything.

  • They’re optimistic.

  • They’re gregarious and loud. While you may not consider this a leadership trait, see it as liking people. That manifests itself through the electronic appendages they use constantly to instant message, text and talk.
Bottom line: Retain Gen Y employees by loving them, encouraging them and rewarding them. In the work force, that means providing a support network, throwing them challenging work and giving lots of feedback.

— Adapted from “You Raised Them, Now Manage Them,” Nadira A. Hira, Fortune.

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