Generation Y

Eric Cantona leaps, feet first, into the crowd, is banned for 9 months and when he comes back the manager makes him club captain. Luis Suarez bites an opponent, for the third time, the third time, and then moves to Barcelona for £75 million.

No-one said it was easy managing talented people but for some people, whose talent and achievement is obvious, you might make an exception. But, and this is a huge but, what do you do when the hardest person to manage has seemingly endless potential but hasn’t, as yet, actually achieved anything?

Welcome to Generation Y.

20 somethings. The selfie generation. Self-confidence that can be brittle. Ambitious and impatient. Live their lives on social media (some say they’ve been raised by technology). No respect for positions, no respect for hierarchies, no respect for lines of management. Don’t get it, won’t get it.

But hugely creative and innovative. Maybe they are where the next big idea is coming from.

Do you fight them? Socialise them? I’ve even heard one business talking about house training them. Get them to fit in around you, rein in their creativity.

Or give them their heads. Wind them up, watch them go.  See what happens. The next big thing. Or the next big crisis?

Try this one for size. Let them make up their own rules. Let them decide what is and isn’t acceptable. But remember two things:

First, they’ll probably surprise you with how strict and challenging their rules are – you might not  be negotiating something more reasonable but working out how you support smart people to achieve lofty ambitions for them and you;

Second, make sure you hold them to it. Conversations about behaviour and conduct need to start with their rules not yours.

Guaranteed results? No. Easy to do? No. Still, as every Generation Y knows, if it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be fun.