Sat, Aug

Are you ducks quaking?

There's an awful lot ducks can reach us about teamwork. I like the way they sleep in the open, in a row - hence the expression "ducks in a row" - and the duck on both ends of the row sleeps with one eye open so they can spot any hazards. If their sleep is disrupted, the ducks reshuffle so the ones who were keeping watch move to the middle of the row and get some kip.

Now I've had non-executive directors who've slept through a board meeting with no eyes open. And I've had quite a few staff who describe themselves as team players but aren't. Now that's fine if you're George Best in his prime - you can enjoy what I believe is called the genius prerogative but many of these self - professed team players are seriously average. This isn't an age thing - many of the mediocre managers I have worked with ;or dealt with) have decades of experience - but it does seem to be a particular challenge for Millennials.

Every generation has a culture shock when it enters the workplace. But that disconnect seems particularly acute when it comes to Millennials. And to be fair I sympathise with them. We've been so guilty about the amount of time we couldn't spend with them that we indulged them. A good grade, rather than being taken for granted, was rewarded with a new bike, game console or car. So they enter the workplace believing they’re geniuses - and we ask them to do some chores. Funnily enough, they don't like that - and they blame us rather than themselves - but they do have a point. They will soon form the majority of the workforce so the question for us, as owners of our own businesses, is what should we do?

Yes, we can moan about the good old days when everyone just did what they were told - forgetting that they weren't that much fun for people like us who were told what to do - and try to force them to knuckle down but is that going to get us anywhere? 

Probably not. It makes more sense for us to understand the way they think because they're not just our employees, they are our customers - and our customers' customers. So ignoring them is not an option - and the sooner we all realise that (and stop whingeing about them) the better. Whatever you think of Millennials, they are the future of your business.

Comments please to industrymole@imagereportsmag.co.uk

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