It was early on a Friday morning and a fresh faced young lady sat next to me in the coffee shop pounding away on her Mac. She seemed to have a delighted spirit. Was she on Facebook? Had she been up all night popping Molly? Of course not! She was working, she was in the flow and she was loving it. Awesome!
Gradually another 5 young people trickled in to join her. They shared concepts, talked about their customers and gave each other pointers on how to navigate the organization. My heart swelled with pride. How wonderful to be in the presence of people who loved their work and were optimistic about their future.
Then one fair haired gentleman uttered: "Oh Shit"!
Across the yard stomped their boss. She bolted in and immediately instructed each of them what they "needed to do" for the day. What were smiles and salutations turned into slouched shoulders and uncertain expressions. They were sequestered to a table to take additional beatings. Instructions that came with finger pointing and accusations. Their motivation was destroyed......
What struck me was that despite the seemingly intolerable bravado of their "leader" these people still seemed to love their job....? Did they have no other options or was the company a pretty great place overall? Here we are with the leaders of tomorrow engaged as they could be, their only deterrent to success is the one person who should care about them more than any other.
What has become of our workforce journey? Is the power shift from one generation to another so obvious that Baby Boomers will do anything to keep their kids from succeeding? I see no validation in the stereotypes that Generation Y has had to carry since they were in high school. More so, I see middle managers of elder generations destroying motivation for the sake of their own preservation.
If you do not understand that it is better to give than receive you probably haven't achieved much. Those with hands out and ears shut will never achieve success. Success should be characterized by the influence you spawn... your personal accolades are secondary.
Maybe the grown ups need to grow up, maybe we all need to adjust to the times or maybe when we were born is meaningless in the grand motivational scheme of things. What IS important is that young people possess an optimism that is the groundwork for a brighter future... and yet we discourage it. We tell young people to lose their optimism and get real, we poo poo engagement for the sake of accountability and we tell those who are capable of achieving what we have not that life is unfair.
Your legacy, if not shared, is simply an untold story gathering dust!
Don't cover your ass! Protect the dream!
Don't Forget to Remember!