"Millennials don't take initiative." This is the sentiment of most Generation X managers I meet, who complain that their younger employees wait around for work to be assigned to them and only perform the bare minimum required of their job.
When I share this perspective with Millennials, they are shocked. Millennials think that they do take initiative. Their professional ambition and desire to excel in their jobs requires it.
So why is there such profound difference of opinion on this issue? Here is the answer:
- Millennials equate taking initiative with asking questions and collaboratively involving one's boss
- Generation Xers believe taking initiative means "figuring it out" on one's own, without having to rely on others
These contrasting views make sense, given each generation's experience growing up and in the workplace. However, they are cause for costly and avoidable misunderstandings at work that lead to low productivity, retention and engagement.
For insight and strategies on to how to bridge the generational divide and integrate Millennials into organizations for long-term success, please feel free to visit my website or contact me directly.
Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy