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Too often I have heard from managers and recruiters who are Boomers or Generation X that Millennials have an unrealistic, inflated view of their capabilities. On the other hand, many Boomers and Generation X have a deflated perception of their competencies. Is this generational?
There are studies that would support that Millennials have an inflated view of their capabilities. A study of the generational differences in psychological traits of college students by Jean M. Wenge and Stacy Campbell, (Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol 23 No. 8, 2008) found that the Millennial generation has the highest scores of self esteem and narcissism of any generation. Comparing scores of college-aged students on psychological inventories between 1950 and into the 2000s, the authors were able to track significant changes in generations. By the mid 1990, the average “Generation Me” college student had a higher self-esteem than 71% of Boomers. Narcissism scores also raised significantly. The average college student in 2006 scored higher in narcissism than 65 percent of students in the early 1980s. Specifically, a significant number of Millennial college students responded affirmative to questions such as “If I ruled the world it would be a better place,” “I think I am a special person,” and “I can live my life any way I want.”
Written by Carlann Fergusson, Owner of Propel Forward LLC.
You read about it in the papers all the time. A successful entrepreneur is asked to step aside and let a CEO with more operational experience continue to grow the business. This move is neither a statement that the entrepreneur’s brilliance has diminished nor a statement that the leader didn’t try hard enough. Instead, it is often a reflection that the entrepreneur kept their sight fixed on the same levers it took to start the business instead of a broadening their perspective as the business grew and became more complex.
If founders want to remain with their company through the next big growth cycle they will need to prepare themselves for this leader-shift. The good news is the entrepreneur can capitalize on the strengths that made them a great entrepreneur. Those innate skills of picking up changing patterns and synthesizing information from numerous data points to identify future market needs, can be applied inward to their business to see the patterns and data points that tell them where they need to change their leadership strategy.