In conversations with leaders across the federal government, I've heard a common question and refrain: "How do I lead and manage the millennial generation? There's no way I can meet their expectations given that they've been reared in an online, on-demand, everyone-gets-a-trophy world."
In response, my team recently held a conversation with young employees from my organization and a number of older federal supervisors who are taking part in one of our leadership training programs.
What we found mirrored the conclusions of a recent report by IBM's business consulting arm. The IBM study found that many of the stereotypes regarding millennials are simply wrong. While there are social and cultural differences between different generations, we too often rely on oversimplified ideas about younger workers -- and as a result, focus on trying to solve the wrong problems.
When senior leaders objectively think back to earlier points in their own careers, they may realize they were not all that different from millennials. Sure, this new generation is different in any number of superficial ways. But at the end of the day, they are looking for the same opportunities to make a difference, develop their skills and grow into leadership positions, and they want to do so quickly.
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This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.