The changing of the guard has begun. Members of “Generation Y” (born between 1982 and 2000) are permeating the workforce, creating cultural shifts in our business environments. While many “tenured” business folk believe in not quitting until the job’s done—not to imply this is (or was) necessarily the right or only way—this next generation seeks more than just work as a path to fulfillment.

Recently, a client of mine, a Vice President of Operations, hired her replacement. The VP is a baby-boomer. She works what she considers normal business hours: she’s there before the client arrives and stays until after the client leaves. However, her new hire works strictly from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. without fail.

When I asked my client if her new associate was completing her work, the VP responded, “I’m not sure.” I immediately replied, “Come again?”

According to the VP, while her new associate completes the work assigned, she doesn’t seem committed to the team or the organization.

So I asked, “Have you given all the information, emotional support, acknowledgment, and guidance you can to the new hire?” and “Are you being abundant with your giving, or are you being stingy?”

While the VP’s response was not surprising, it was thought-provoking, “When I joined this company 18 years ago, I had to prove myself. I had to show I could keep up with my superiors. I had to win their acceptance before I could ask for things like flexible hours. I just feel everyone must pay their dues.”

Leaders must recognize that 80 percent of today’s workforce does not want to own a business, lead a team, or manage people. Most want to get as much as they can get as soon as they can. I call it listening to radio station WIIFM: What’s in it for me?

Like it or not, Generation Y is here to stay. Great business leaders will be those most able to lead this next generation closer to their ways of thinking while also learning from them what is required to retain top talent and get results. At the same time, these leaders will need to be generous with their time and knowledge so Generation Y can succeed.

So the question comes for these leaders: Do you approach life from a place of abundance or of scarcity?

Which of the following best describes you?

  • I live by the philosophy of ABUNDANCE, the belief there’s plenty as long as I take action with purpose and intention and always make progress toward my Specific, Measureable, Action-oriented, Reasonable, and Time-sensitive (SMART) goals.
  • I live by the philosophy of SCARCITY, which means if I get there first I win and you lose.

Living with abundance is like running a marathon. There is ongoing preparation, maintenance, and the wherewithal to deal with the unexpected. Pass this legacy on to those you currently lead. Help them help you win the future.

Scarcity is more like a sprint, where in order to win, someone else must lose. Leaders guided by scarcity hire quality individuals, make them work long hours, and bleed all they can from them in two to three years. They are guaranteed that their golden gooses—their businesses—will cease laying golden eggs for them.

So get the less-tenured employees more involved in your business. Work with them. Share your knowledge so they have a better understanding of who you are and what you’ve done. Have them participate in this knowledge-share. Discover what they need from you. In the process, you’ll build longer-term relationships, loyalty and show Generation Y how to be generous to those who follow, resulting in greater profits and stability for the long haul.

The choice is yours!

Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates. He is a business visionary who guides organizations through cultural shifts. He promotes environments that inspire collaboration, transparency in the pursuit of strategic outcomes and heart-felt desires. Reach Stuart via email: stuart@pma-co.com