Purpose, People and Community.

These are the recurring themes in the wants and needs (demands?) of some of our Millennial colleagues and friends.  More specifically, recent studies say they want to work for an organization that:

  1. Has a clear Purpose they can relate to.
  2. Treats its’ People with dignity and respect.
  3. Is visibly committed to its Community both locally and globally.

These ideals are not local to Millennial.

Whether Baby Boomer or Gen X or Generation Z and whichever generation is next, they all…we all… believe that this understanding of Purpose, People and Community represents the kind of organization we would all like to work.

Why then has this Idealism been stereotyped to Millennials?  How has this stereotyping caused issues for Leaders and challenges for organizations?

Interestingly, this brand of Idealism is a trait that has stereotypically been connected to two groups “The Young Professional” and “The Visionary Leader”; for different reasons and with different impact.

When associated with “The Young Professional”, Idealism critics describe a youthful exuberance, a lack of understanding, and perhaps even immaturity.  It is often layered with a sarcasm and a soft way of saying ‘Your simply too young to really understand the deeper issues.’

This creates space between Leaders, Team Members and Colleagues.  At times this space can lead to resentment, dissatisfaction and disengagement.  Eventually, the result is departure…intellectually first, then physically.

Ironically, when Idealism is ascribed to “The Visionary Leader” we have a completely different set of descriptors.

We elevate this person and their thinking.  We praise their commitment to what is true and honorable.  We frequently recognize them with a special version of wisdom reserved for those we define as “A Success”.

Be careful about this version of Us vs Them thinking (see previous blog).  We are much better as Leaders, Teams, and Organizations when we have the capacity to find and leverage those things that bring us together.

Increase your ability to Recruit, Retain and Engage at all generational levels.  Equally acknowledge the necessity of connecting our organizations Purpose with the idyllic perceptions of our colleagues at all levels.  When we do this, we are indeed treating all People with a brand of respect they can see, feel and understand.

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