Practice Development Counsel

Phyllis weiss haserot
Phyllis weiss haserot

President & Founder

212 593-1549

E-Tips: Multi-Generational Solutions Archives

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What Merits Generation X and Y’s Respect for Authority?

Many of you know I am a baseball fan, and I usually get a lot of comments on the e-Tips I do with sports examples. Here's another one.

In an interview by the New York Post (June 29, 2008), the new New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel, age 54 (a Baby Boomer), was asked: “Dusty Baker once said, 'It's hard for an authoritative figure in America to win the trust of today's young players.' What enables you to win that trust?”

A trait attributed to both Generations X and Y is that they don't give their respect to people in authority just because they have seniority or occupy a particular position. Individuals earn their respect on merit, not longevity.

Manuel's answer to what enables him to win respect indicated that he understands his young Gen Y ballplayers' generation. The way to show leadership, he believes, is to love what you are doing and love the people you are leading. The other component is, in Manuel's words, “to serve your followers with a high quality level of service by investing in them.” This requires a big time commitment by a manager, but it is the way to earn trust and provide motivation and loyalty.

We have seen that the younger generations, whether the workplace is the office or the ballpark or the theater, don't respond well to a command and control management style. They prefer the coaching and collaborative styles. Management from a distance doesn't sustain a high level of commitment. Generations Y and X want managers to be hands-on, skin-in-the-game types. They need to hear the mission repeated and to get frequent feedback – constructively and collaboratively – from their leaders. They want the latest tools and technology and the answers to their questions. They want to know why decisions are made. They want to have their viewpoints heard. But they also understand that they might not be the ones to make the decisions – yet.

Jerry Manuel encourages his players to get feedback and learn from each other rather than being competitive with their teammates. He allows loud music and encourages laughter in the locker room. He uses slang language they relate to and find appealing without sacrificing authority or appearing childish. He believes in self-expression – within bounds – for himself and his players.

It remains to be seen how fast (or if) he can turn a talented but dysfunctional team into consistent winners. But it appears that he understands and has made an emotional connection to his young players, and that bodes well for the Mets, the fans and cross-generational teamwork.

Please share your thoughts and stories.



© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2008. All rights reserved.

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For coaching, training and special programs on inter-generational relations and maximizing the potential of young professionals, call Phyllis for an exploratory talk or complimentary coaching session at 212-593-1549. See and We also provide *Next Generation, Next Destination* transitioning planning programs and services for baby boomer senior professionals and their firms.

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