Working with Generation Y: Getting More than I Bargain For


Every rule has its exception. In the past few days I have worked closely with few members of what a lot of experts have labeled the most “entitled” generation ever in the history of mankind. However, my experience has been nothing but positive. I’ve been working side by side with creative, hard working and competent young professionals.  Before you decide to fit everyone 20 year old in a high-maintenance and low-return box, consider this.

Working with Generation Y

Every person deserves to prove his or her own merit. It’s easy to label someone but hard to change one’s preconceived notions. Give them the benefit of the doubt, expect the best. Simply, treat them like you want to be treated.

Give them guidance but let them perform. When you have young talented people working for you, let them be young. Point them in the direction you want them to go, but try not to micromanage. If you’re too heavy-handed you’ll lose the freshness and creativity a young professional brings to the table.

Wisdom is not age related. I’m currently working with wise young people who understand human dynamics way better than I did at their age.

Don’t judge, mentor. If you see potential and a willing heart, you should mentor them instead of dismissing what could become one of your best assets. I have learned a lot from some of the young people I’ve mentored over the years. I still do today.

Set them free. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let your young and talented and yet immature employee go. You’re the employer and not their parent. I have seen business owners suffer through non performance because they like the “kid” and wanted to help. Sometimes the best help you can offer is letting him feel the consequences of not meeting expectations. That’s a lesson we all need to learn. The sooner we learn it, the better off we are.

The best resource I’ve found on all thing Generation Y, is Tim Elmore’s Generation iY book. You can get it here.

What has been your experience working with Millennials?

  • Mark Campbell

    Thanks for the insight. I really like your "don't judge, mentor" point. It's easy for us to judge and not find a way to help shape and lead this generation.

  • Jen Martin

    As a member of the Generation Y, I want to thank you for this post. It doesn't matter who you are, none of us like to be labeled

    • Sometimes it's too easy to accept a label and ignore the individual.

  • Rodney Eason

    My wife and I were just asked to lead a twenty-somethings small group. We are 38 and I have to say a bit nervous about this which means we will probably get a lot from it.
    The leader of our twenty something ministry has tons of energy which I could use right now. I have found that the closer to 40 we get, the more grounded our pursuits. This jolt of energy could be great for my wife and me. I did try mountain biking with some guys in their twenties a few months ago and I am still recovering. So, I need to know the limits. 🙂
    Maurilio, keep sharing your discoveries and insights as they are helpful and a motivator that my wife and I should really lead this group.

  • Rodney, I run and workout with twenty year olds. I'm in a perpetual stage of recovering. Forget your limits, just get out there and hang with them. You'll build your stamina and next time you're hanging out with 40 year olds you'll crush them on a ride. 🙂

    I just updated the blog with a link to Tim Elmore's book, Generation iY. It's the best resource out there to understand and help Generation Y. here's the link:

  • Robert Wright

    Love the post Maurilio. I'm new to your blog, but have enjoyed it anonymously to date.

    My experience with members of GenY have been great so far. I have a few that I manage at work and I have found their work ethic, enthusiasm, and attention to detail to be a notch above the rest.

    I also have a few GenY couples in the small group I lead at church and they have both injected a freshness and perspective to discussion that I wish all would emulate.

    All that being said, I'm sure like with all generations, there are some bad with the good. But my conclusion is that we can definitely not right off this group… they have much to contribute.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Robert. I'm glad you're not writing off GenY either.

  • Maurilio –

    Well said, and I agree with your assessment based on my experience in working with a variety of generations including Millenials and Generation iY. I am currently reading Tim's book and love it so far!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Working with 20 somethings can be rewarding and energizing. --

  • For some reason every time I think of a young leader I think of Steven Furtick and what God did through him and his team with Elevation Church. A bunch of young 20 somethings (at the time they started it) who were probably dismissed by a lot of people early on. Now look at them. Just goes to prove your point about age, wisdom and ability.

    I personally would much rather work with a young creative person who has desire even if they lack some practical experience. Often much better than working with a seasoned person who is a stick in the mud and thinks they know everything already.

    Clay can be shaped but once it's hard it's difficult to mold. 🙂

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