When managers just don’t get it

Millennials have been entering the workforce for a while now and are already moving to more senior positions and bring with them a different set of values.

Knowing this is one thing. Witnessing it and acting on it is yet another.


I was recently working with a medium size company.

I was there to conduct a strategic navigation workshop for the senior leadership team.

The company had been established by two young men, now in their thirties. It is very successful and grows rapidly.

They assembled their leadership team with the aim to create together with them the next phase of the organization’s development.

The room was filled with young energetic professionals in their twenties and thirties.

The chairman of the company arrived as well. He was in his late sixties, a veteran of long years of public service.

He retired a while ago in a very high position and has infinite knowledge in the business.

The two young leaders worked throughout the day in a participative manner.

They were including their team, consulting with them, asking for their views.

The process went very well in a very good and creative atmosphere. Strategic decisions were made in an elegant, mutually agreed manner.

Except for the elder man. He could not restrain himself all day and was actually shouting every few minutes “Why do you let everyone decide together? It is not their business”.

And later: “This is not a democracy, people do not need to know the strategy, they should just be told what to do and go out and do it”.

This was followed by “in my 50 years in the public service I have never seen leaders involve their management in business details in such a transparent way. This is a disaster”.

And so it went throughout the day. The group progressed and collaborated in a positive and fruitful day and the elder man was grumbling nonstop.

The two young leaders tried to explain to the chairman that in this way of open discussion they invite everyone in the management team to own the decisions that are made together. But to no avail.

This for me was a live collision between Generation X set of values and generation Y set of values. It was live, dramatic and almost brutal.

It was not easy. However, it was very educational.

How do your organization leaders behave?

Read how you can change your life if your managers are anything like the above in The Compass.