I read a post the other day that discussed how CNN reporter Don Lemon (@DonLemonCNN) turned to stereotyping and chastising the behavior of millennials during one of his recent segments. The intended topic of the segment was not even about millennials, it was supposed to be about Edward Snowden’s NSA leak.
Comments by Don and his guests during the show included the usual “sense of entitlement” and being celebrated for every little thing and being coddled. Following the segment, several millennials took to twitter to share their disappointment with Don about how he and his guests so freely stereotyped and condemned millennials. There were suggestions to Don via twitter to at least have a representative from the millennial generation be present to share the millennial perspective. Don’s twitter response to the young man that reached out to him was simply #GetOffMyLawn.
Some may say that Don has every right to have offered the response that he provided. After all, it is Don’s show and he doesn’t owe this young man or any other millennial a seat at his table. Some may say this, but I would disagree.
For those who believe there is so much wrong with the millennial generation, my question is how do you propose to help resolve those issues? What are you doing about it?
I’ve always been a big believer that if you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Whether or not the stereotyped accusations that were made on Don’s segment are valid or not is a different story altogether. The issue here is if he actually believed them to be true, then what solution is he offering. In addition to offering a solution, what responsibility is Don and the Don Lemon’s of the world taking for any of the mismanaged expectations and/or irresponsible behavior that may be taking place with our future leaders.
Each generation learns from the generation before them. One of the charges that is often placed on the millennial generation is that they expect a trophy or a reward for every little thing. This is clearly not the millennial’s doing this to and for themselves. This is the result of the actions and conditioning of the parents, teachers and leaders that taught and raised them.
To all my Gen X’ers and Boomers out there, let’s be careful not to be so critical without offering a solution. I always tell my team not to come to me with problems, come to me with solutions. Even if the solution doesn’t work, it’s always better to be constructive versus destructive in your approach.
We need to hold millennials accountable for being more productive and effective in how they approach their careers and life overall. We would be doing them a disservice to coddle them and not push them and expect them to shine like the stars we know they are. No shortcuts, handouts or easy ways out; they have to earn it. It’s about holding them accountable, not judging them. There’s a big difference. Accountability makes us all better, while judgment just makes us all bitter.
"We teach what we know, but reproduce who we are." ~ Lew Collier