I am having wondering if other people are having some of the issues I am having with there younger team members. Most of the younger team members (20- 28) expect every thing to be given to them. When you try to give them feed back or any input at all to tell them what they need to do to get where they want to be they get offended or give you an explanation of why they don't need to do this.

One example of this is I promoted a team member after only being there for a year because of him taking on extra responsibilities he took on and hard work. I had three team members complain they have been with the company longer. Yet they admit he does more work and that they don't want to do any more work with out compensation.

Another example is any time i have a new team member start some team members complain that they should get the new pc and the new team member should get there hand me down. I try to always keep every one on the same type of pc, but some times they discontinue models I have to get they the newer model. I explain to the team members that complain that we can not buy new pc's every two months and that there pc will be replaced if there is a need to.

Does any one have advice on how else i can do to get this point across or is this just how a lot of this new generation (20-28) is?

BartMasters's picture

Hi Bob,

My suggestion is to just stick with concentrate on their behaviours. Provide feedback, feedback, feedback - including affirming feedback whenever you can. If they consistently ignore your feedback, then move onto systemic feedback (ie 'When I give you feedback, and you keep doing the same wrong thing, heres what happens).

If that doesn't have any help, then you need a 'When you ignore my feedback, heres what happens. I think you don't want to work here, since you are ignoring my authority, so I think about sacking you/ensuring you get a terrible annual review. What can you do differently?'. Its a big stick, but at the end of the day you're the boss, so if you are providing regular feedback and they are ignoring it, you need to point out to them what constant ignoring of feedback will result in.

Look to start some coaching with people - taking on extra responsibilities etc. Run them through how to get ahead in your organisation.

You'll note I've said nothing about their age. Its irrelevant. Some people will naturally be self-starters, and some people will demand everything on a platter. Age/generation Y (god I hate that term) has nothing to do with it. Older generations have been complaining about upstart disrepectful kids since Noah was a boy, and I'm sure will continue long after we are all dead. Just stick with feedback, coaching, and systemic feedback. And if months of that won't help, then look at replacing them with people who will be a positive, not a negative, to your team.

terrih's picture

I guess you could try to spin it that it's in their best interests. What about the hassle factor of giving someone a hand-me-down computer? The person handing down the computer would have to transfer all their files, bookmarks, etc. (More hassle than I'd care to deal with even as their supervisor, I think.)

They might forget to delete all their *ahem* adult material and then when it was reported to you you'd have to fire them. :twisted:

(srsly, would that such things didn't happen but they do)

And more seriously yet: There have been other threads on similar themes, and others have said it better than I will... saying this is an attribute of the 20-28 age group is too much of a generalization. I've seen people in their 40s with similar attitudes. Somewhere along the line, they bought into an entitlement mentality.

What's the answer? Blowin' in the wind, maybe.

jhack's picture

You should also go back and refresh yourself on the basics:

The time you spend one on one with your people, the feedback you give, the coaching and delegation, are all going to contribute to their understanding of what you're doing and why.

It's not easy but it's well worth the effort.


US41's picture

Adjusting feedback frequently results in "what can you do differently?" being answered with a historical report, an excuse, blame of someone else, or jabbering on and on making an irrelevant point as suppressive fire designed to shut you down.

Steps to take:

1. Remain calm and quiet.
2. Hold up your hand as if to say "stop" gently and close in front of you.
3. When they stop, say, "That's fine." or "I understand."
4. Repeat the ineffective behavior in brief. Ex: "Sharpening pencils at another person's desk is not working."
5. Ask again what they will do differently.

I sometimes ask in two stages:

1. Can you do something differently there?
2. When they answer yes, I ask, "What?"

Lots of people complain that they do not require feedback, that they know what to do and how to do their jobs, and they will try to get you to stop it. These people are in DENIAL and they need your help. They are rationalizing that lack of communication = successful performance.

It is your job to explain to them that lack of communication = poor performance on their part - feeling around in the dark. The only way they can improve and succeed is to get feedback.

It never ceases to amaze me just how many people love to live in denial and believe they are awesome and know it all. That is the only possible explanation for not wanting to receive feedback - that or the certain knowledge the feedback is actually going to be useless criticism with which one cannot work.

I know I recoil in horror whenever I hear "Can I give you some feedback?" and then I am told to "do better" or "perform better" or some other vague, utterly useless guidance that is similar to a compass spinning as if I am lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

A good manager is a good compass. You show them which way to shore, which way home, which way to success. Without you pointing, they will sail themselves out into the ocean, become lost, and despair.

Do not let that happen to them.

A note of caution: stick to behaviors. If you ever, ever, ever give feedback on something that is not a behavior, you will find yourself in an argument you cannot win, and rightfully so, because if the feedback isn't about a behavior that they can change, it's useless and sometimes demoralizing.

TomW's picture
Training Badge

[quote="BobAnderson"]Does any one have advice on how else i can do to get this point across or is this just how a lot of this new generation (20-28) is?[/quote]

If all they are doing is complaining, you just give them feedback on it. If you are having one-on-ones, you probably have a decent enough relationship with them to talk to them about it without them getting defensive.

As the feedback podcasts said, if someone offers an excuse when you give them feedback, the response is : "Thanks for the background. Now, what can you do differently next time?"

If the combination of feedback, one-on-ones, coaching and late-stage coaching don't work, you terminate them.

As others have mentioned, age is irrelevant. Either someone is growing and developing into an effective employee or they aren't.

pmoriarty's picture
Training Badge

Good stuff already said by previous posters.

As for the hand-me-down versus new PC, I'd ask, "Did you get a new PC or a hand-me-down when you were hired?" End of discussion.

juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

Better late than never - most of what I would say has been covered.

I have found that this type of response is not age related in any way. I had more than one person on my team who responded with reasons/excuses/I don't need that. The most effective way I found was something Mark said ages ago (long enough I have no clue which cast it was anymore).

No one makes decisions without reason. It may be flawed reasoning, but it was reasoning. For those who haven't been able to get over the hump of telling me WHY, I simply tell them I realize they made that decision for a reason, I'm asking them to consider other options and tell me what they are. It's not a value judgement by me of them, it is a request to change a specific behavior.

For those who complained that someone less senior got a promotion, it's simple. He was willing to step out, take on, and DO. I was worried about an award I gave at a recent work event right up until the person I thought was most likely to feel slighted told me he was GLAD that person was recognized for all his hard work. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

It comes back to feedback, feedback, feedback. Positive over and over, and let the adjusting be just that...adjusting. Make it clear you're asking for change, not making a personal indictment. If they don't get it, push back, assure them you know there was a reason behind their action and still ask them to change that action.

It's good stuff.

JorrianGelink's picture

I manage 20 associates under 24, so I might be able to help.

This is the brief start, but you need to start somewhere and you'll have to litmus test it.

To answer this:
"Does any one have advice on how else i can do to get this point across or is this just how a lot of this new generation (20-28) is?"

Whining and excuses, it's a habit built into them from school. Defensive mechanism, I'm sure we've all had it. And no, there is no "easy way" to break it, you don't need to tolerate it.

Working in sales I deal with it a lot, I just let them know "Seriously, that what you want me to tell my boss? That won't fly, let's play to win here"

As for whining again ask them "What would my boss say if I was whining to him regarding...."

Reinforce you are there to help what is in your control. That's the key is they NEED to know you are there to help and get them to be successful.

You can't whine and cry to your boss, neither can they :wink: