When Millennials reject feedback, they lose agility


When Millennials reject feedback, they lose agility, as I have seen through 5 year’s volunteer mentoring to young talent, and as business owners and young startups share with me.

When Millennials reject feedback, they lose agility. They were “protected” for years

Kids in many countries I’ve visited are being raised with a peculiar parent protective approach: “You are great”, “You are right”, “Excellent”, “Don’t worry”. I think that many (of course, not all) members of the millennial generation grew up with a lot more adult support than previous generations.

Worrying studies reveal that they’re by 1/3 (to say the least) most disengaged from work and their companies. They’re not that happy. Possibly this is explained partially, by the fact that the corporate world is stuck on old-management logics, top-down. But are they ready to integrate and work with the usual hard demands of any company?

Schools are not shaping open-minds

This generation — like all others before — entered the workforce following a lifetime of traditional school, where they received feedback in the form of grades, not in the form of personal evaluation for improvement. It can feel like a slap in the face, entering the harsh realities of work in an organization.

My personal experience

Having mentored more than 50 youngsters, I remain with mixed thoughts on their ability to receive feedback and act upon it constructively. A few weeks ago, a restauranteur friend was telling me how frustrated he was when youngsters resigned the business in short-notice, and without contributing much to grow and develop. A tough business line? Which business is easy?

The same feedback I got from two PR agencies CEO’s and a Marine insurance company when it comes to youngsters’ skills, competence, character, and their rejection of feedback. Even two young learning hub owners told me that the worst they see in project teams is the time they reject feedback.

From theory to practice

Being open to feedback, means you’ve realized that you’re missing on competence and skills. From a startup owner who doesn’t realize customer journeys, up to an employee who can’t put in practice the curriculum he or she graduated, they both come from a theory-world, and they must adapt into implementing things they don’t know that well.

This starting point is essential to self-evaluation and awareness. I was getting hard feedback to improve all the time, being at the very first steps of my career, and I had to live-through by the annoying verbatim “It’s the result that counts“.

The workplace was and will be tougher

The workplace is transforming and it will be changing for long (every day!!). Leadership, Communications, and Organizations are in disarray. Lower costs, flexible lines, completely new skill-sets in demand, automation and software tools, huge competition, same/identical MBAers and increased company’s pressure for market-demanding projects. As long as companies will transform so the employees would be asked to change and improve.

Take for granted that companies won’t help you personally to achieve your ideas and dreams. You will have to find your ways through initiatives, convictions, collaborations based on feedback and learning.

See below video to discuss and share

Generation Y’s most-outspoken critic speaks out: “Millennials are struggling at work[/inlinetweet] because their parents gave them medals for coming last”

No matter how good you think you are as a leader, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. The most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better.

Don’t expect instant gratification

Millennials being digital natives, are used to press a button for instant results, so they possibly desire instant gratification. They play video games at least three times a week. This instant gratification experience can translate, often subconsciously, into workplace expectations. This is not how organizations work.

Have agility

To become an effective leader in the long-run, when you are at your 20’s sweet-spot, take it for granted: you need to continuously evolve. You need to challenge your own assumptions to avoid blind spots and staying behind. You must stretch your thinking, and be adaptive to increased agility. Some line manager, or tutor, or mentor will help you to reach your full potential, only if you have open ears.

For many, there is often one specific challenge that stops their progression. If you’ve ever said the words “I’know, I’ve gotten this feedback before,” chances are you’re undermining your own success.

Performance reviews are your friend

Imagine you’re a mid-career manager in a big company receiving a tough performance review. Your direct supervisor tells you that your inability to handle pressure, collaborations and feedback swiftly can derail your career. When things were hectic you might have caused breakdowns in team communication losing the team’s trust in you. What do you do? You hide-away? You talk directly to the team? You put discipline to improve?

You’re not special

You compete with millions of Chinese, British, Indian, Americans, Italians, Cypriot well-educated, MBAers, who work their ass off and improve every day. They go into online, physical, project ratings. They are prospective employees or partners, or project interns to multinationals, startups and small businesses. They are hungry to succeed.

Millions of growing kids are tech-enthusiasts, learners, hard-working, and achievers like you. How do you compete? How will you find what’s working and what’s not with you? How can you turn patience and work purpose into your weapons, that help you live through the on-going Transformation?

I don’t have a recipe, but I’m open to your feedback and opinions. If you’re Greek or Cypriot check the Borrow My Brain podcast.

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