Today, I get to speak to a group of highly engaged, young professionals. They will be in their early to mid-twenties, full of energy and ambition. This particular group is enrolled in a volunteer mentoring program in the community.
I love speaking to and working with young professionals. I’ve always thought that the reason was that they were so full of energy and curiosity. They ask questions and they want to learn. All of these characteristics make for a great audience and for a good student. But, this isn’t the main reason I love working with this type of group.
For me, I think it’s much bigger. For me, working with young professionals is my way of investing in a better future for all of us. I’m pretty fond of illuminating the fact that management sucks and that our workplaces are broken. I can tend to sound pretty cynical when you get me rolling on these subjects. And sometimes it’s hard to see where we can take action to break the cycle and start really making thing better.
I think one of the places where we can make a huge difference is with our young professionals. If we can help them start out their journey with a better toolbox or a more grounded perspective, they can make the choice to act differently and think differently. If we can, in some small way, give them permission to expect more from their work and their leaders, to be more individually, then I think we are moving the needle.
All too often, business leaders and the media are quick to write off “Gen Y” and depict them as somehow problematic. I choose to take a totally different view. Gen Y is our future. They hold the power to transform what it means to have a manager and how work should look. But, they need our support. They need our guidance. They need mentors who encourage them to become their best self.
Take the time to invest in your young professionals. It’s an investment that can deliver a tremendous return.