top of page

Bloody Millennials & Gen Z!

Why are the younger generation often seen as "entitled" / "self-opinionated" / "disruptive" / self - centered" / "run before they can walk" / "lazy"... In the workplace?

The younger generation (Millennials & Gen Z) will always rebel against the system, it's how humans are wired. In actual fact, it's been this way for many different generations over the years... And here's why;

We like to feel we are in control, all humans do, it's a built-in safety mechanism... If we don't feel we're in control, on an unconscious level we are fearful. Fearful of the unknown, because we can't change what we don't understand or know about.

This is fact; this is why approximately 80% of adults hate change... Try it, ask a room full of people who likes change, most will say they don't.

So, back to the younger generations we are talking about... Millennials & Gen Z in the workplace.

Rebelling is a form of control.

Let's take a look at teenagers as an example... 16 of 17 years old.

If you were to ask them if they're in control of their lives.. nearly all will say no. I know, I have asked hundreds of them.

They will tell you that they have to do as they're told, they have to go to school, wear a uniform, do their homework, be home by a certain time, go on holiday to where their parents want to go, even eat what's cooked for them...

They feel they have no control at all...

So how do they bring control to their world? (because remember, deep down in their unconscious minds they are feeling they have no control of their environment, and because they are developing into adults, their brain is developing this safety mechanism I mentioned earlier)

They bring control to their world by rebelling, mucking up, disruption and breaking the rules...

In their own unconscious way, they are trying to control their environment.

This is where they really start to learn about boundaries - or not. Because in reality, we are all governed by rules... It's how society works.

I am sure that you've broken a few rules, perhaps the odd speed limit here and there and perhaps you've been caught and been given a fine and points on your licence... We still rebel as fully grown adults.

So, is it any wonder that when they get to the workplace that they are wanting change?

Especially when we layer in on top of what we've just discussed... the fact that they think differently, problem solve differently and experience things differently... Because they've been schooled differently and have learnt in a different way... It would be be extremely unusual if they did not want to change things.

My advice to Leaders, business owners etc when they have a younger generation team member who is asking for a pay rise or promotion faster than normal... Or they have a disruptive "rebellious" team member...

Give them even more responsibility - give them a task that will truly test them. Something that they can get their teeth sunk into. Make sure you set very clearly defined boundaries and outcomes (goals). Ensure deadlines are clear and understand. Don't make it impossibly difficult for them, but set it in a way that it will either unlock that potential or show the gaps that they need to grow into.

This strategy also works for teams or small work groups...

Then set them on their way - don't interfere, micro manage or constantly hassle them for updates... Just let them run with it.

Come the day of the deadline, they will either have achieved it... Or not.

If they've achieved it, congratulations, you've got a "young gun" in your team that you can truly nurture and fast track.

If they don't achieve it... (and don't say "see I told you that you couldn't do it... Blah blah blah)... Say; "great effort, loved the commitment you've demonstrated, love the hunger and drive you've shown, we need more of that in our teams / team members. However, can you see where there are some gaps in your skill sets? It's OK though, because we can fill those gaps. If you are serious about becoming all that you can be, I / we can help you to increase your skills and enhance your mindset and build you to the point where you can get that promotion, get that pay rise... Shall we do that? Do you want to learn how to get to that point and beyond? "

This is what Leadership is all about, it's about growing, nurturing, developing and making other great Leaders. Yes, it's hard work, yes it can be draining... But if you're not willing to do this (which is the bare minimum by the way)... Then you're not a Leader, you are a Boss, Manager or Supervisor.

Bosses, Managers and Supervisors are the ones that whinge, moan, bitch and complain about how the younger generation are entitled lazy pricks who don't know they're born and are ungrateful for the opportunity that you're giving them.

Please, don't be a Boss, Manager or Supervisor, the workplace and world is already saturated with those types of people.

Instead, find ways to nurture the hidden talents in your team, you will be surprised what talent there is present, when it's given the opportunity to be released.

Even more, you'll develop a workplace culture that will retain people rather than drive them away... Because they're are rebellious and won't fit in.

I have shared one strategy you can use - and I highly recommend that you try it out. It has been a strategy that is widely used in the Military to tap into the potential of their people. I am blown away by how simple, effective and fool proof it is, I am equally blown away by how little it is used in the civil sector. Of course it comes with risks, however, these risks are easily managed. Happy to discuss this further if you are keen to give it a go.

When you truly understand how, we, as humans... think, behave and react, Leadership becomes so muc h easier and less stressful.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

And if you'd like to chat more, hit me up... I love chatting about this sort of thing, I have lots more strategies and insights that I can share with you.

Steve Barker - RAW Leadership

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page