Generational distinctions are mostly meaningless, although sometime there is a glimpse into cultural trends based on age. One generational difference that is a good one to see (among many) is that “millennials” don’t want to work for jerks. Workplaces used to worship the leaders who pushed people around and were overly assertive; today the standard is changing to bosses who actually realize that humans work for them and they aren’t just disposable “human resources.” Sure, there aren’t as many jobs out there as before, but we must remember that millennials have grown up in an economy without care for them (serially underemployed with no job security, pension, or even a ‘normal’ 9-5 pay cheque), so a jerk boss has little sway to keep employees around since millennials don’t have much to loose by going elsewhere.
Let’s hope that the changing workplace to a friendly space can also make the economy a little more human too.
In some workplaces, making a colleague cry is considered a sadistic rite of passage. In the culture of commerce, behaviour that would be inexcusable in pretty much any other context is not only tolerated, but rewarded.
To what end? What real benefits are conferred on a business when its leaders are nasty? Abusive behaviour sure doesn’t spur productivity: A 2006 Florida State University study of 700 employees in a variety of different roles found that those with abusive bosses were five times more likely to purposefully slow down or make errors than their peers, and nearly six times more likely to call in sick when they actually felt fine. Nor does it do much for employee morale: As Stanford organizational behaviour professor Robert Sutton wrote in his 2007 bestseller, The No Asshole Rule, brutish managers “infuriate, demean and damage their peers, superiors, underlings and, at times, clients and customers, too.”