Millennials have been dealt a lousy hand and employers now have to fix it

Late last year Simon Sinek was interviewed about Millennials/Gen Y (1981-1997) and the challenges that employers are facing in the management of this generation. This would be the most insightful discussion I have heard about this most complicated generation and below I have attempted to summarise the salient points.

Simon talks about the “entitled” Millennial’s need to find jobs that provide purpose and impact, and yet when they do find such a job they are still not happy. He looks at the four influencing factors (parenting, technology, impatience and environment) and in particular how these areas have created a generation with the lowest self-esteem and the highest suicide rates compared to any other generation.

Watch the full interview on YouTube by clicking here.

Why have Millennials grown up to have low self-esteem and a sense of entitlement?

  • They were continually told they are “special”

  • They have been led to believe that you can have whatever you want in life

  • They received higher marks than they deserved in school due to parents complaining (and teachers not wanting to deal with these parents)

  • They were given medals for “participation” which devalued the reward for those that worked hard and embarrassed those that come last because they know they did not deserve a medal. In the end the participation medal did not make them feel better, it made them feel worse


And then what happens when they enter the real world, the corporate world?

  • They find out they are not “special”

  • Their mums and dads can’t get them a promotion

  • You get nothing for coming last

  • You can’t have it just because you want it

In an instant the young adult’s entire self-image is shattered. And that is why employers must now step up to the plate and help fix the problem, because there is no other alternative. If we do not fix it, then every business will be negatively affected because we cannot deliver the best results with an entire generation not delivering at acceptable capacity.

The answer?

I think Simon has hit the nail on the head, employers need better leadership. But not just better leadership at the C-Suite level, we need better leadership at all levels of people management, all the way from the CEO to the supervisors. For too long management teams have focused leadership development on the senior leadership positions, it is now time to start focusing on the operational managers and supervisors as they are the ones that need the most assistance when to comes to managing the Millennials (let alone the next Generation Next/Z).

For more information on affordable and effective 360 Degree Leadership Development programs that can be implemented across all organisational levels, please go to .

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