What Does Gen Y Want From Its Leaders?


There has been a lot of attention placed on Gen Y workers and what they want from the workplace, how they work differently, how their expectations are different from previous generations. I’ve often considered that the focus on generational differences at work is a plot to keep consultants busy.

But yet I wonder; do the expectations that Gen Y have for their managers and leaders differ than mine?  Or from any other generation’s?

My daughter and her husband are in the under-30 crowd. Both have already had a fair amount of experience with different workplaces and management styles. Recently after a lovely Sunday dinner together, I asked my daughter and her husband, “What do you want from your managers and leaders?”. Their answers:

Ask for our thoughts and listen to them. Ask us what we think. Listen to our ideas on what can be done to make the workplace run smoother, better, more efficiently. And then consider our answers and ask us to help make the workplace better.

Treat us the same way we treat you. We want to feel valued and respected. We’ll work harder and with more care if you care.

Be honest with us. Don’t try to snow us or pretend that you know something that you really don’t. When we need to know something, tell us – don’t hold back or think it’s irrelevant. We’d rather have more information than less.

Foster a culture that wants to keep employees. Make us feel as if we are important to the organization and that you want us to stay. Instead of assuming we are doing wrong, assume we’re doing right. We’re not slackers. We want to work hard and accomplish things. Coach and mentor us when we stray.

Hmm….this was a totally unscientific survey of (only) two darned bright  (if I do say so myself) Gen Y’ers. Yet it begs a question: Do Gen Y workers want anything differently from their leadership than any other generation? Your thoughts?

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.

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