People aren’t going to think the way you want them to think because you want them to think that way. Your employees aren’t going to learn like you do because you want them to learn that way. Some people love structure. Some people love freedom. The more we learn about human nature, the more we should be willing to adapt to the differences of humans but half of America isn’t ready for that type of adjustment. The powers that be still want everyone to aspire to the cookie cutter go to college, get an 8-5, get married, have kids mold that has been standard for the past couple hundred years. Those who don’t fit that standard are often forced into undesirable positions, given little money and even less control over the outcomes of their lives. But, truth be told is, we don’t have to go to college or work at an office or even have a defined amount of money coming in every month. And we don’t have to all work at the hours that best suits our supervisors to make them comfortable. We do it because we are conditioned that way. But what if that way is not the most productive way? What if that works well for some and others could do better working from 8 PM until 3 AM three days a week and meeting with the team for a couple hours a week than they would working 8-5 and watching the clock for the last two hours of every day? And then you have others, like me, who like to have the option of one or the other.
Like it or not, a shift is coming. Trying to hold that shift off until a certain generation ages out is not only delaying the inevitable; it is hindering us from making the progress we need. Leading is about knowing your team and how they can best help you reach your goals. Managing is about fitting them into your mold. But what if, God forbid, they have more material than your mold can hold? Then you’re losing them to another employer at best and cutting off some very useful parts of their personality at worst.
Change the way you lead and trust your employees to make the best decisions they can to make your organization the best it can be. At the end of the day, I’m sure of many things for young professionals: 1) we want to succeed and 2) with the size of the national student loan debt, we certainly cannot afford to lose our jobs.
Question the power structure and don’t be afraid if they decide you don’t fit their culture. If they decide that, they’re right but that means it’s up to you to either find or create your next move.
Make professional development a priority.