Generation Y and the leadership style of the future
Nowadays trainings and workshops about spiritual leadership are a hype, as also are explanations about communication and motivation of the famous new generation Y. A lot of company literature is about spirituality and also about the imminent problematic about managing and motivating young coworkers. That is why for me it is a challenge to combine both items and to look at the characteristics and differences of the new generations with the former ones in a spiritual frame of reference. It also could be interesting to look which leadership style the youngsters need.
On a regularly base I am invited to give workshops about managing and motivating this new Y generation. In searching for new information for this article, I discovered sites where the results were the outcome of quantitative examination. These examinations are exhibited under the flag of the old paradigms mandated by high schools and newspapers as Trends and Intermediair, which are red by the Flemish intellectuals. It is about questionnaires filled in by representative large groups of youngsters, interviews with business leaders and the querying of rather successful academic young people.
The results of these explorations are very recognizable. Being a mother and a baby boomer I raised two children of the Y generation and more and more I meet this youngsters in companies where I teach soft skills. But this story also has a shadow. It is about youth refusing to study because the matter is antiquated. It is about youth taking drugs and looking for highlights ending as the outcast of society. These youngsters are not spoken of in the literature about generation Y.
Nowhere I have found the link between generation Y and the new age children. Nevertheless I sense that there is one and I tend to explore this on a mental and an intuitive level. Because for me the Y generation has the same characteristics as the so called Indigo’s and vice versa. Information about the new age children (Indigo- Star- Crystal children) are found on sites looking less scientific. These sites are decorated with angels, stylish jin-yang signs, butterfly’s and flowers on pastel colored wall papers. The language is not academic anymore. The information merely is the result of intuitive, qualitative, phenomenological free examination, located in the new age, characterized by the new paradigms. A lot of information was channeled. And yet the results often were alike.
What follows is a report based on my own experiences, explorations, readings, World Wide Web and the field. But first of all I will explain the term “new age” and the coaching style according to it.
Coaching, counseling and softs kill trainings in the light of the New Age.
In order to be clear I will give an explanation of what is the meaning of New Age. News age children strive for self-development, personal growth, self-achievement, consciousness and spiritual development. Freedom, love, peace and connection with mother earth have a central place. Therapists and coaches who belong to this tendency teach spirituality to managers in order to fight stress, to elevate the motivation, the productivity and the flexibility. Together with the ones responsible, they search the way to enduring enterprising with a real concern, respect, loyalty and gratitude for people, animals, cultures and our planet. New age coaches and trainers are walking next to business leaders in their search for inspired leadership, in the first place towards themselves. Because enterprises where people and their managers work with the right intentions, will attract richness and abundance in a very broad way of speaking.
New age coaches offer unique and powerful concepts where founded spiritual wisdom is embedded in proven scientific and psychological approaches. The result is that participants got empowered and inspired in their human being. So we are at the head of companies and organizations which function in a mindset of welfare or wellness consciousness, by making long term relationships with coworkers, clients and suppliers. The goal is people in organizations to stand in their core power and to develop their full potentiality. In that way they can realize their personal mission and that of the company they work for.
Managers are invited to look in a respectful way and with self-esteem to their script with the intention to develop themselves towards more autonomy for themselves and their coworkers. It is about renewing behavior, finding his motivation in inner values, ethic convictions and a gentle self-image. In that it never is about learned and by the others applied behavior or skills. Leaders are touched and inspired in order to become aware of their unknown abilities and those of their coworkers that lie deep in each of us as a hidden treasure. That is what we call “spirituality”. The awareness of the managers is invited and deployed in order to let shine the light on items and problems that occur during the training or coaching. The result often is people to make a quantum leap to a higher and wider conscience.
This text comes from the vision and mission of the TransVormMensia-network. And the founders of this network (me included) hope that a lot of coaches, counselors and trainers will join the network. Because I think that this is what the generations of leaders to come will expect. But who are those new generations that recently are stepping into the company life and the public life?
Nowadays three generations are working on the shop floor:
- The baby boomers (45-65 years)
- Generation X (30-45 years)
- Generation Y (15-30 years)
Generation Y is the third large generation after world war two. In the next 15 years the baby boomers will leave the companies and they will be replaced by generation Y, also called millenials or sreenagers.
Managers feel uncomfortable with this youngsters because they do not get their objectives any more. Older coworkers experience difficulties in working together with these youngsters. On the other hand we speak of highly desired and highly educated multi taskers and companies already are worried about how to motivate these promising youngsters to come to work and above all, to stay at work. Because, do not forget that with the retirement of the baby boomers enterprises will be left with a great lack of employees. Studies already are talking of 60.000 coworkers that will have to be replaced.
Here follow some myths and facts about this “new generation Why?”. It is up to you to look if it is recognizable or not.
Managers find them lazy, spoiled, egocentric, without ambition and superficial. They are called job hoppers and nest stickers. American explorers call these youngsters the most egocentric and narcistic in recent history. Indeed our youth is looking in a different way to work: they are eager to learn and at the same time they want to have fun. Moreover they find that companies must be able to offer this. Entrepreneurs are confronted with big challenges. They have to learn to work together with youngsters who have totally different opinions about work, life and wellbeing. It is not true that the youth is without values, they just have other values. Question is, if company life is aware and able to respond to these tendencies.
Generation Y are the children of the baby boomers. A lot of them had parents that where permeated with liberty thinking as the hippies and the flower power movement of the sixties brought it in our Western culture. In the seventies there was the third wave of woman’s liberation. The generation of the baby boomers mostly was a generation of fore runners of today’s new age children. It was the time of Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara and Martin Luther King. A lot of them still are sentimental with Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Pink Floyd, without speaking of the success of Hair and Woodstock. The motto was “make love, no war”. Young people did not marry anymore, they lived together. Unmarried woman got children and it was a conscious choice. Baby boomers were kicking loud and clear against the established order and structures. They were fore runners who spread the ideas of the French Revolution: freedom, equality and brotherhood and they opened the gates towards what they hopefully called the Age of Aquarius.
Generation Y are the children of the baby boomers. They grew up in an atmosphere were having an opinion was encouraged and they were stimulated to look at things from different angles of view. Different studies, also those of the Vlerick Management School, call them a self-aware generation with a lot of self-esteem and a strong self-image. They have a lot of self-confidence, they are prepared to come out of their comfort zones and to create freedom in doing their thing. Working is important for them, but free time also is essential. A lot of these youngsters will interrupt their work and take a sabbatical year with the intention to study or to travel the world, or to do something else that provides a lot of learning experiences and fun. For this generation working is a tool to earn money, but money never is the goal. Money is a mean to obtain fun. In solicitation interviews, they do not search for money or status. Working has to be an enjoyable, satisfaction giving occupation in a pleasant environment, an inspiring atmosphere and a harmonious team.
Generation Y is not only expecting a good work-life balance, the job also has to give the possibility to grow and to get responsibility and trust and at the same time they want to get enough coaching and accompaniment. The question is if today’s leaders in Flemish companies, who mostly are technical experts and therefor are functioning in leadership positions they do not fit in, because they are bad communicators can satisfy these demands.
Generation Y is asking for respectful coaching’s. Their inner Adult is asking for challenges while their inner Child needs a lot of space. You never should boss them. They only accept authority from people who stand in their core power and allow others to stand in their core power. Personal freedom is very important as are enriching experiences and that is what they are looking for in their job. They think in terms of possibilities, never in terms of constraints. They know what they want, they go for it and they are persuaded they have their success and their failure in their own hands.
Moreover these new workers are grown up with computers, internet and the mobile phone. They constantly are connected with digital information, entertainment and social contacts. Co working is important and colleagues are never seen as rivals but as partners. They easily can multitask with different apparatus. They quickly understand new technology and they race easily through grate amounts of data. They are fantastic networkers, social, highly educated and they are exceptional team players. All valuable qualities in our knowledge intensive economy.
However, generation Y is not interested in becoming an independent entrepreneur. They see themselves working as a paid employee in short term projects, hopping from one company to another, exchanging one interesting project for another more interesting one. Via computer networking as face book, what makes them connected with the whole world, they inform each other about enjoyable companies and pleasant experience enriching projects. They are not in search for ego or money, as where previous generations. They value the importance of a good work-life balance. Their career expectations are high, but good results are seen without fail as a way to the next interesting job.
In a summarizing way, we could say that the Y generation is an “and-and” generation. They are a highly individualistic generation and yet at the same time they are very social oriented and showing a lot of solidarity. On the one hand they are committed to traditional values as marriage and having kids, on the other hand they are characterized with a great sexual permissiveness.
This generation is prepared to work hard and they also want a lot of free time. They want to earn their money and at the same time they want to learn and to undergo interesting experiences. These seems to be contradictions, but this generation brings them together effortless.
Generation Y is a sober, pragmatic and realistic generation, with both feet on the ground, full of ambition and expectations but also, constantly the knowledge is living in the background that one day they could become unemployed. They make the best of it. Each thread is seen as an opportunity. Unemployment is a chance to study and to go to college. You may not forget it is a nest sticking generation, which always can backslide on “mommy’s hotel”. To rent an apartment in Belgium is too expensive for the youngsters, so they stay at home, not saving their money, rather spending it. Later on, when they want to buy or to build a house with their partner, the savings of their parents will be spend. Moreover, the doors of the labor market will be open soon, when the baby boomers are retiring and the amount of jobs for high potentials will increase considerably. Their future is of gold.
And yet it is not all pink rosy what characterizes this generation. Maybe there was less fear as in the former generations where the consequences of the war or the cold war were working through. They did not know the fear for the bomb or the atomic war. Generation Y has his shadow. It is about key children raised by two working parents. Materially spoken there was plenty. They came out of their bed, turned on the button of the heater and they took it for granted. And yet a lot of these youngster where in search for highlights and drugs.
New age children
In some frames of reference one is saying that these new age children came to earth with the intention to become a beacon of light for their parents, their direct surroundings and whole humanity.
How do we recognize these new age children?
New age children are highly sensitive, they are in possession of a great amount of sensitivity and felt senses. Each child is born with this quality, it is very natural. But this inner sensitivity we are born with, soon is swapped with mental thinking and verbal communication as a survival strategy in a material and materialistic world, where the old paradigms still prevail. New age children approach things rather with feeling and sensing. They react rather intuitive. They are extremely sensitive for atmosphere and moods of others and they have the tendency to take them over. There is spoken of children with paranormal experiences and paranormal gifts. New age children often are highly gifted on the condition that their parents give them the space and accompaniment to maintain this intelligence and to develop it. New age children live from their own wisdom and they have a strong inner feeling of what is true, honest and just. They feel effortless when you lie, sheet, fake and they find it difficult to cope. When they are confronted too often with dishonesty, they could become anxious and depressed. They not only have a high IQ, they also want to learn. Because they can feel extremely what is right or wrong, there is no need to discipline them. Mostly they react badly on discipline. Surely they need clear structures. But they never are satisfied with traditional answers or answers based on authority. They do not accept guidance of people who are not living by ethical principles. They cannot be forced to do something they do not believe in, and they do not allow you to put them in a box. Another characteristic of a new age child is that it masters an exceptional language and expressing skill. They speak wise for their age. They also exhale more aspects of consciousness and aptitudes which amaze their parents several times. They offer original solutions, nobody was thinking of, staggering the adults. New age children have a creative imagination and often are dreamy and withdrawn.
Sometimes they are restless (ADHD). Often they have problems with time. They find it difficult to arrive in time. It is difficult for them to recognize the chronological come and go of events. Their sense of time is very extendable. For example they have the feeling to have been busy for ten minutes and in reality they were busy for two hours. In that way it is difficult for them to make a plan in order to get things done in time. Another difficulty is order and structure. They continuously are searching for their stuff. Another characteristic is their connection with nature. Some of them are convinced vegetarians. New age children often are crybabies, children with skin conditions or asthma. Sugar and chocolate makes them aggressive and they can have troubles with food allergies.
There were always high sensitive people in the past. Question is if to days new age children have highly sensitive parents, taking their children seriously and educating them in a conscious way. Alas this is not always happening. A lot of highly gifted and highly sensitive children are born and educated in a child unfriendly and woman unfriendly environment where they cannot develop properly.
Let’s talk about the group of children with ADHD, DHD, ADD, HJS. These symptoms often are the result of our capitalistic civilization and the mental materialistic thinking that goes with it. People, parents are collecting material goods and children are seen as their possession. Parents are functioning in survival modus in a culture where people are only earning halve a salary and life has become 30% more expensive. Parents work in workweeks that are too long because the boss is looking for “flexible” coworkers. Parents lose a lot of time in traffic. Parents have too little time to spend with their children and moreover they are too tired. New age children that are not accompanied properly by their parents, what often is the case, do not get the understanding for their being “different” and then they can show symptoms as aggression, withdrawing, or expectant behavior. They even can show this behavior in an extreme way till the people in their surroundings “wake up”. When parents, teachers, educators, do not wake up, new age children will confront them constantly in that way, or they could become ill, hyperactive or non-active.
Most of our new age children are part of the group of Indigo’s. They are born under the beam of the new age. Most people were born under the violet beam. Indigo’s are born under the indigo beam. Indigo is a very deep color of blue, where violet and purple are mingled. Some people can notice these color in the aura field of these children. People that are born under the violet beam have a two or three dimensional conscience, a conscience that feels at home in the old paradigms of the old ages. New age children, Indigo’s have a four or five dimensional awareness and feel at home in the quantum paradigm. Thus everything that is coming towards them they perceive and store in a different way. Indigo’s are aware of their mission in this life. They know why they are here and they are proud of it. Violets often are searching for what they want. Indigo’s know for sure what they want and wonder why others do not know. As a child they often know more and better than the adults. They are born with a feeling of proudness and they are pleased with themselves and the world.
Older Violets and young Indigo’s living together can produce a lot of misunderstanding. Violet does not appreciate (indigo) babies and children with their own unchangeable will, enjoying life. Indigo does not recognize Violet searching for difficulties, not understanding them, thinking slowly, not being open for his wishes and demands, finding feelings complicated and trying to put him in the Violet box. I wonder how Indigo coworkers will feel when they have to work for Violets that want them to work according to procedures, doing unethical things and put them in violet boxes.
Probably there are always been new age children, but one could say that since the beginning of the nineties the mainstream of the new born are Indigo’s. One could also say that in the last years a lot of new age children are born, but is that really so? Maybe in most cases, one of their parents also is a new age child. Maybe it seems more indigo children to be born, because in the early days the special gifts of these children were neglected (or suppressed). Indigo children have a lot of the features we described above, moreover, the following ten attributes characterizes them:
- They are born with a kind of royal feeling and they also are acting as a king in many ways
- They have the feeling that they earn to be here and are surprised when others do not feel that way
- They often tell their parents “who they are”
- They have problems with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice)
- They refuse to perform some things as lining up
- Ritual systems, without any creativity (procedures) frustrate them
- They have an eye for improvement at school, at home and at work
- In that way they are perceived as system breakers, because they do not conform to any system
- They are asocial, except when they are relating with other Indigo’s
- When they are not understood, they withdraw
- It is if no one understands them so they are computering or watching the television
- Socially spoken, school can be very difficult for them
- They do not react on guilt induction
- They are not ashamed letting you know what they want
(From Indigo children of Lee Caroll and Jan Tober, www.indigochiold.com)
Can you already notice the similarity between the Y generation and the Indigo’s? Self-conscious, stubborn, opinionated, intelligent, sensitive, happy, not accepting authority…
The Indigo’s have the task to kick against the old paradigms in this harsh world in order to break the old structures and to open the gates towards the new world where the Cristal kids can do their job. There still is a lot of work for the Indigo’s. They are our future world leaders and company leaders. The first fifty years, I do not think we will see a lot of Crystals. In advance I give already a description of who they are. Most of the information I give here is channeled. Here comes a vision of the future.
Crystals are not as strong as the Indigo’s in body and mind. Indigo’s are the system demolishers, and so they are built in order to survive in violent situations, full of friction, testing the boundaries. That is why they are chaotic and robust.
Crystals are the peace bringers. They will be the examples of embedding giving leaders. Their nature is peaceful and gentle. They will not test the boundaries are try to wag the boat as the Indigo’s did. Nevertheless they will defend themselves and the ideas they stand for with heart and soul. The word “passion” describes their true nature. Passion for life, love, justice and fair play, passion for truth are the characteristics of the Crystals. The etiquette Crystal also refers to the fact they are Christ like humans, as Jezus, the highest Avatar was a Christ being.
They have the potential to do all the things Jezus did by right of birth. They are clairvoyant, highly sensitive and communicating in a telepathic way. Moreover they have healing gifts.
The third group of new age children are the star children, it is about a group of inter dimensional beings pretending they are coming from other planets or stars. Some of them are telling they are from the Pleiades, while others are telling about far green or blue stars. One thing is for sure, they come from dimensions we cannot dream of, or see with our human eyes. They are here, ready to assist in the peace process. They bring the gifts of wisdom, harmony, and balance to earth. Star children choose to be here as ‘emissaries of light’ with the intention to bring back the earth to the light or the source.
This little personal examination makes me decide that there are a lot of similarities between the new generation Y, mostly born after the eighties, as scientists are telling and the Indigo’s we find in big numbers after the nineties as spiritual sources are claiming. They are self-confident, straightforward, eager to learn, creative and free… but also very vulnerable, because it does not take much to let them neglect or suppress their gifts. They are held in the lower vibration numbers of the third dimensional sensory world by heavy chemical medication. They may not be themselves and they have to adapt to the two or three dimensional scientific thinking of the old world.
I feel a lot of sympathy for these new age children and moreover I recognize myself as one. I feel it to be an honor to be allowed to work with them as a therapist or a coach or a soft skill trainer. In my experience they learn fast and are glad with what I share. They are fond of transactional analysis and quantum transactional analysis and more over they can apply this concept effortless in their life and their work.
Educating, accompanying and managing Indigo’s
Kids mirror their parents and coworkers mirror their managers. Indigo’s do so in a multiple way. Educators experience them as difficult, demanding, assertive and quick tempered. This is how they react on frustration, lies, dishonesty, fear and non-authenticity. You have to treat them as adults from the moment they are born. With respect. To give a (non-considerate) demand could have a bad effect. Giving a choice works well. So you never tell them to line up, you ask them if it is possible to line up in three minutes. You do not tell them to come to the table and eat. You ask them where they want to sit. In other words you relate with your Adult ego sate. Indigo’s feel royal and want to be treated with respect. They want to know why. They will accept a disciplinal adjustment if you explain them what they are punished for. Even when they only are three years of age. Indigo’s are wise and disciplined by themselves. There is no need to boss them. You better can be their friend. Angry, emotional moods do not impress them neither do guilt induction or manipulation. Family reunions, where problems are spoken of, do well. Indigo’s like to co-operate and to make the rules together. In that way the child is part of a partnership, making adult contracts.
This is also the question in companies with young coworkers. Youngsters mostly have a high moral standard and discipline from themselves. They find it difficult when they have to do things against their sense of justice. They highly respect the realms of the plants, the animals and the earth. There is a big chance they do not want to work for companies without respect. Moreover because they are not working for money, status or ego. They are team players and unaware of concurrence or negative competition. If you are managing them you have to be self-conscience. They mirror you and invite you to develop your self-leadership and to transform your shadow. They confront your frustrations and the older coworkers of generation X often are frustrated when they have to work with the youth. But when the old ones are honest they have to admit that they also longed for what the youngsters are asking for, but they never dared to ask it for themselves.
The key words that belong to these young people are freedom, trust, fun, autonomy, maturity, communication, equality, responsibility, no nonsense, pragmatism. And above all, they do not like to be put in the box “Y” or “Indigo”
Twenty years ago enterprises implemented the so called autonomous teams and total quality management. But it did not work in their scripts, based on distrust, fear and a mindset of poverty. So they stayed stuck into non authentic, manipulative tips and tricks and really nothing changed basically. The non-winner scripts triumphed. Twenty years ago I worked for a bureau which facilitated implementing TQM programs. We worked for a chemical giant with acquired packages that were filled with procedures and tricks. Management and collaborators had a lot of fun with these programs and at the end, nothing changed fundamentally. They went on miscommunicating and not listening to each other. In fact there only was one winner: the bureau I worked for. They earned a lot of money with this worthless programs. In another company I worked for, teaching communication and T.A. in order to support the so called autonomous teams, management was installing these “autonomous teams” because the team guides became too expensive and so they fired the team guides. The co-workers from now on, had to divide the tasks of their boss, next to their own work. Moreover, the teams were diminished from eight to six members. These are tricks which have nothing to do with enduring improvement projects and development. They are based on short term “thinking”, fear and poverty awareness and they do not solve anything. On the contrary. Real improvement and innovation will be the result of initiatives of people, leaders, who developed their conscience, based on self-knowledge and script transformation. These will be leaders who stand in their self-leadership and who live and work with love, respect and gratitude for people, animals, plants, cultures and our planet. Personal development and self-leadership have to come first. Managers should develop even more their intelligence, respect, autonomy, trust, communication and being connected. At first with themselves. Self-awareness and self-development are the conditions. If coworkers and their managers would develop towards authenticity and maturity with (self) respect and (self) trust we could speak of true feedback dialogues. No need to fill in forms anymore. Communication no longer is a false trick. There would be truly connection and genuine commitment.
From what I read about and the dialogues I have with young people, Indigo’s and Y’s, my conclusion is, that what I wrote above is what these youngsters aim for as coworkers and as managers. So in my point of view the management style which is appropriate in order to achieve the maturity and autonomy these youngsters want to develop, is “results oriented coaching”, where managers and their coworkers negotiate about their realistic goals for the next year, till they got a consensus. In other words, this has nothing to do with “management by objectives”, where the boss applies the goals, mostly in a mindset of short sighted greediness, which is accompanied by fear and poverty awareness.
When managers and their coworkers agree about the goals, and of course there will also be goals towards self-development, the coworkers get the responsibility to achieve their goals in their own creative manner. Managers only have to provide a platform and the means their coworkers need in order to succeed. Coworkers are compelled to raise the alarm, when they see, they cannot achieve the goals the agreed on. Together they will deliberate the facts. Maybe there were not enough means or one was too demanding. In regularly organized feedback consultations the goals are followed up. At the end the (new) goals are achieved and there will be no need for evaluation consults. Autonomous people deserve a management style from the Adult. There is no need to be controlled or evaluated.
Situational leadership on the contrary is a style from the Parent ego state. Directing (Controlling Parent) and supporting (Nurturing Parent) has to be done with Children. Maybe the result is a company with happy adapted Children. This is not what new age children are demanding. Positive strokes can be empowering, but they also are manipulative. Symbiotic people are depending on recognition and adept. Mature and autonomous adults went through their process of individuation and they are their own standard. They are working in flow and thus they stroke themselves. In this context the meaning of communicating and stroking is the ability to share about convictions, insights and knowledge by experience. Other people are free and everyone is restricting himself by his own moral values, because my freedom ends where yours begins. Symbiotic, dependent teams float on laws, structures, procedures and strokes. Autonomous teams make their own procedures and stroke themselves. And this exactly is what today’s youth is doing.
I speak my hope that the youngsters of today, who enter the companies in big numbers, will go on defending their principles and values and that they may cooperate in building the bridge towards the arising and flourishing of what the elders hopefully call the new age or the age of Aquarius.
I bow for the youngsters