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At best, answers to the “millennial question” have offered advice on how to effectively motivate and mentor a new generation of workers, and at worst have spread and reinforced sweeping generalizations.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

Originally published on ama.org

The so-called “millennial question” has been addressed by popular psychology and business management gurus for over a decade, resulting in a robust archive of advice on how to deal with millennials in the workplace. The negative millennial stereotype goes something like this: narcissistic, impatient, distracted, demanding, social-media obsessed, selfie-taking “me, me, me” generation. At best, answers to the “millennial question” have offered advice on how to effectively motivate and mentor a new generation of workers, and at worst have spread and reinforced sweeping generalizations.

Analyzing millennial stereotypes reveals what our broader anxieties are over new trends and larger socioeconomic forces that threaten the stability of our already knowable past. Leadership guru Simon Sinek notes four key factors related to millennial sensibilities: failed parenting strategies, technology, impatience and environment. In Sinek’s 2016 viral talk, he stated that millennials’ unrealistic expectations and difficult-to-manage behavior was the fault of their helicopter parents, the influence of technology on their lack of social skills and lack of willingness to commit to a job. However, his advice on how to manage millennials focuses on how they need to change, adjust their expectations and develop the skills they lack, suggesting they need to learn patience, accept their place in workplace hierarchy, get off technology, talk to people, build trust and accept constructive feedback. …

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