If nobody is following you are you really a leader?

14 07 2010

I’ve been reading a book as of late titled: Mentoring Millennials Shaping the Next Generation which has got me thinking.  Millennials are a different breed.  Even as I write this post the differences glare at me.  My mother is making me an omelette, she says it will be an omelette like I’ve never had before.  I’m excited for it, but in her preparation of the meal she left the refrigerator door open as she sprinkled cheese.  I know her intent, “I’ll get the cheese out and put it right back.”  “I’ll spend more personal energy opening and shutting the fridge door, so I might as well leave it open.”  However my thoughts were, “good granny, you’re wasting energy (not personal energy mind you but environmental energy).  My brain automatically goes to the thought that she is wasting energy and in turn wasting resources, both environmental and monetary.  Sure it doesn’t hurt anything now, but what about over a life time, how much energy and money does that waste, and what causes could  those things have gone for instead?

What is the big deal?  It’s just a fridge door!  The deal is it’s what our concerns are.  The “Boomers” and “Gen X” for the most part (and forgive me of my generalization) are more concerned with personal energy than they are with global economy and impact.  Allow me to clarify that statement, Boomers and Xers will spend personal energy on the global economy if they will see a return on their investment.  The Millennial will spend personal energy on the global economy regardless of the personal return.

This is hard for the older generations to understand, especially since they do not see this personally in us.  Allow me to explain.  The older generation asks us to sacrifice ourselves, normally it is for their cause which, in most cases (again forgive me of my generalization), in the long run is for their personal interest and return.  If we do not agree with this cause we will not sacrifice personal energy.  As a result we come across as dis-loyal, self-serving, and arrogant.  The reality is we won’t sacrifice out of obligation or relation.  This is why we constantly ask “why,”  we want to know that what we are sacrificing for is worth our energy.  This may seem backwards to Boomers and Xers but it is reality for Millennials.  Wrong or right this is where our generation is heading, you can either lead us in this or watch us walk away.  And forgive me for saying this, but you’ll die off before we’ll change.




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