Entitled. Over educated/Under Employed. Want a raise (yesterday). Unwilling to pay their dues. Lazy.

Just a few of the words and phrases used to describe the growing group of young professional and leaders called Millennials.

For some, these comments are a reflection of their observations in the workplace. True characterizations of a set of colleagues they have worked with over a period of time. For others, these comments have simply become a part of the descriptive nomenclature; it is what you say about ‘them’. In other cases, it has become a way of expressing frustration. Frustration with a team member. Frustration with a policy or process. Frustration with oneself.

In all of the above, however, it is absolutely destructive, divisive and demeaning.

In my work with organizations across the country it often comes as a surprise when I ask the question ‘How is it possible for you to lead a group of people who believe you are insulting them?’.

It has always been the role of older generations to develop the language which describe new ones when they enter the workforce. Whether they be Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, they have been empowered by Generational Privilege to develop the language to describe the incoming group…in this case Millennials. Unfortunately, some of the language is unkind, unflattering and precludes the former from leading the latter, sowing seeds of distance and at times resentment.

Ironically, many are surprised when Millineals are disconnected from their work and disengaged from the company. Resulting in a transition away from the organization just as the company is seeking to reap the rewards of their investment.

As leaders, it is our role to create organizational cultures that encourage teams to produce their best work. Leaders should take a listen to the language used in their workforce and hear how Millennials are described with fresh ears. It won’t be long before you hear the Millineal Micro-Aggressions. The little comments that poke and prod. The extra words that needle some and are nettlesome to others.

Should a Millennial have to work in an environment where their colleagues and supervisors have helped to create an uncomfortable work environment? Should any of us?

Much of the work it takes to Attract, Engage and Retain talent starts with Multi-Generational Leadership and more specifically it starts in the mirror of the leader. Ask yourself this hard question and demand of yourself the answer. When it comes to Millinneal Micro-Aggressions am I part of the problem and am I willing to be a catalyst towards the solution?