[BunkoCast] On Managing and/or Working with Gen Y

Context: I asked Pink specifically about the push-back from managers and a workforce made up of Baby-Boomers, who on the message boards aren’t at all shy about demanding that Gen Y “conform.”

Pink is not alone in his assertions. In fact, if you take a look at Chapter 8 in Karl Kapp’s Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning book, IMHO Kapp very accurately suggests the mindset of how a gamer (substitute “Gen Y” with caution) approaches the notion of a boss: a boss is either a coach and mentor figure who you will dedicate your worklife serving under to support their causes while they impart wisdom and knowledge; or a boss is the rather large and looming obstacle that must be destroyed in order to advance to the next level.

I note to substitute “Gamers” with “Gen Y” cautiously because not every “kid” is a gamer, but there is a lot of overlap demographically and to me there seems to be a solid, if somewhat ambiguous connection.

Another interesting connection I can make from what Pink is saying (particularly about intersecting personal network) is to Duncan J. Watts’ Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age text on Network Theory — where Watts mathematically explains the sociological phenomenon of social networks.

One more connection to recent reading that just occurred to me. Tammy Erickson is a writer and author, and in a Harvard Business Review article she wrote back in February, there’s a quote I’ve pulled that illustrates both Kapp’s and Pink’s points about what opportunities mean for Gen Y:

The critics are concerned that the culture of praise Ys experienced as a child will reach deeply into the adult world, suggesting that they feel insecure if they’re not regularly complimented. Bosses are being made to feel the need to lavish praise on young adults with the threat that they will wither under an unfamiliar compliment deficit.

I’ll let a member of Gen Y rebut this last point. “Young workers today aren’t all spoiled attaboy-addicts,” says Ryan Paugh, 23-year-old co-founder of EmployeeEvolution.com. While he agrees that twentysomethings today may be hungrier for feedback than previous generations were, he adds, “People think of praise in the coddling sense. But what we want is guidance and mentoring — and praise when [my emphasis] we’re on track.