The AMA Handbook of Leadership

By Marshall Goldsmith; John Baldoni et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 14

What Do Leaders Need to Know About Generation Y
in Order to Lead Successfully?

Paul Hersey

They're talented, educated, tolerant, sociable, collaborative, and oriented toward achievement, but they haven't been tested yet. What happens when they are faced with a world in economic crisis that won't support the lifestyle they've grown accustomed to? Will they pout and think, “Somebody's got to fix this,” or will they take on the responsibility as their own? The members of Generation Y certainly have the courage to ask for what they want and are more civically involved in the world than their predecessors, but do they have the leadership skills to take on the responsibility of running the world?

Consider that when I went off to college on a basketball scholarship my father handed me a one-way bus ticket and said, “Good luck” as he shook my hand to say goodbye. When my grandson went, he drove his own SUV followed by his parents in two other vehicles packed with stuff. When they got there, his mother felt that the mattress and desk chair weren't good enough so they went shopping while his father stood in line for him to get his meal card.

Who did the planning? The organizing? The motivating? For this generation, that responsibility has been placed on the parents, nannies, coaches, and teachers—in fact, anyone but the kids. All they have to do is show up and perform to be praised. Granted, they have better skills than earlier generations, but it remains to be seen if

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