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5 Leadership Lessons: Tim Elmore’s Generation iY

Tim Elmore Generation iY

GENERATION iY are the younger Millennials born after 1990. Their world has been defined by technology and shaped by the Internet— iPod, iBook, iPhone, iChat, iMovie, iPad, and iTunes—and for many of them, life is pretty much about "I," says Tim Elmore in Generation iY. “Generation Y is the largest generation in American history and the second half of this generation is different than the first half, measurably different.”

“[H]ere’s something that really saddens me: These kids really do desire to change the world; they just don’t have what it takes to accomplish their lofty dreams,” Elmore writes. “When the work becomes difficult, they change their minds and move on to something else. The new term for them is ‘slactivists’ – they are both slackers and activists.” Elmore argues that we need to change the way we interact with them so that they can grow into adulthood and be the leaders they need to be.

Generation iY is an eye-opening book. It’s backed with research and filled with practical advice. This is an important book for parents and other adults that lead them. Elmore’s thought-provoking analysis will help you to not only rethink your approach in dealing with others but rethink the assumptions that shape your own worldview.

Generation iY

1  Generation iY desperately needs mentors. Young people who spend most of their time with peers may drift into a lifestyle that won’t work in the real world. Many are truly lost and need to find their way back to a path that leads to maturity.

2  The truth is, not everything is an option in the real world. Sometimes there really is one right answer, only one good choice. Sometimes—quite often, in fact—someone else may decide what we will do, and we must go along with that decision….Sometimes there really is no choice, and kids will be better prepared for adult life if they understand this.

3  “You’re a winner just because you participated” is a lie we tell our kids and is just as bad as the “gotta be a winner” lie. Winning isn’t everything, but the insistence that “everyone is a winner” has diluted the value of achievement. What “everybody wins” means in reality, is that nobody wins. Kids have nothing to strive for, nothing to feel genuinely proud of. And when they launch into the real world, where there really are winners and losers, kids raised on “everybody wins” may be in for a rude awakening. What will they think when their boss doesn’t reward them for just participating?

4  For many adults, “download” is our default teaching method. We lecture. We direct. We preach. Students today are more geared to learn through uploading. They want to express themselves, and frequently they find out what they believe by hearing themselves talk. They grow through participation. And they’re used to the free flow of information with multiple sources, so they expect to interact with those sources. “Just listening” to a single voice is not only boring to them; increasingly, it doesn’t make sense.

5  Some call this generation the “connecteds.” Instead of using their youthful years to discover who they are and develop a lasting set of values to live by, they may become adults who can’t make it unless they are constantly on Twitter with their friends. Noise. Busyness. Connection. Talk. Volume. Speed. When will they ever unplug and discover their own identity? Will they ever experience the solitude that enables them to think or reflect on their lives? Will they become a generation so connected that they just parrot what peers are saying in their social network? Or will they be individuals who can think and act on their own without consensus from others?

Invest TIME with the next generation. “We must instill in Generation iY,” says Elmore, that “leadership is leveraging my influence for a worthwhile cause.”

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