How to decode the ME generation

This isn’t the first time you’ve heard that millennials act entitled.

Entitled is the buzzword probably most associated with the millennial generation. We label them this way because they show up in our businesses and ask for a lot from us. At least from our perception they ask for a lot. To many millennials what they expect is just a no brainer.

When you’re on the leadership side of a business you know exactly what the development path for an employee looks like. You also know what it reallytakes to move through that path. You can anticipate many of the speed bumps and roadblocks they may encounter along their journey. What seems like common sense to those of us leading in the business is actually unknown to the millennial employee.

Let me break this down a little more for you. You may be thinking, “They have to know building a career requires time investment, sacrifice, and paying your dues.” The truth is they only “kind of” know that. You could call it unconscious incompetence.

The millennial generation is the first generation we’ve seen enter the workforce that truly grew up with 100% of their life exposed on social media. (or at least the option to have it be) If their lives are broadcasted to the world then you can bet that there friends lives are too. This leads to the potential for A LOT of comparison. What is it that they say, “comparison is the killer of joy”.

Well welcome to the generation who has more exposure to everyone else’s life than any generation past.

Before social media exposed us, we really only knew the intimate details of the lives of the people closest to us. That also meant we were privileged to know the struggles those people encountered as well. We share our challenges with the people closest to us. In todays world though when we look at the social world of EVERYONE around us, not just our close friends & family, we typically only see the glorious parts.

Talk about a problem! The entitlement shows up because millennials think they should have the perfect setup from day one. If you ask them that they’ll deny it. They will say they know it will “be tough”, “take time”, “require hard work”.  The truth is though that their minds get in there way when they are really in the tough moments. They lose all sense of time and perspective and can easily see a challenge as meaning things are “all bad”.  I can attest to this as a millennial myself. I want the perfect schedule, the perfect pay, and the perfect team. However, I’ve been lucky enough to have people along the way help me realize that getting to all of that is not as easy as it seems based on my insight to everyone elses life through their social exposure.

Decoding the millennial generation is as simple as getting connected to them. The connection YOU build with them will enable you to be the person they trust when the journey feels hard. They are not unwilling to get in and do the hard work. But if they don’t have help from someone who can guide them through the mental tough stuff and help show them the way you will likely lose them. Help them see that path you know exists AND the tough stuff that is likely to pop up along the way.

The millennial team members joining our businesses don’t know.

Leadership when your team pushes the boundaries

I speak with salon managers and owners all of the time who share stories with me like

  • “I have one stylist who always comes in late no matter what I do…”

  • “I have a stylist who doesn’t seem to care about the feelings of anyone else on the team…”

  • “I have a stylist who is always out of dress code.”

These statements are ALWAYS followed up with: “But he/she is a really busy hairstylist”.  I always hurt a little for the leader sharing these stories with me because I know it’s a terrible feeling. The feeling where it seems like your hands are tied and you are at a complete loss with what to do. You feel frustrated, stuck, and unsure of the right move.

When leaders feel any of these feelings they are doing a disservice to themselves and to their teams. We’re certainly not at our best when that is our reality.

As a salon owner myself, I recognize the financial risk involved in losing a high performer. It is scary. Really, really, really scary! The numbers fly through our head… can we afford to lose $$$ a month, what about cash flow, how long will it take to rebuild that lost revenue?

There is something much scarier though. Losing MORE than one high performer because you let yourself be held hostage by someone trying to exist outside of your business boundaries. When you see them pushing boundaries so does every other team member you have. And day by day the other team members start to feel frustrated, annoyed, and underappreciated. They start to wonder why that other person gets away with those things and quickly it feels like favoritism or just owner ignorance.

Growing a profitable high performing business means you must have your teams respect because your team respecting you means they respect your business and the way you run it.

So what is the solution to regaining emotional control of the business and removing the ties that feel like they bind our hands? You have to set your boundaries.

The best place to begin with boundaries are your business values. What is important to you? What do you want the business culture to embody? By choosing 2-4 key values you immediately set spoken boundaries. They become the basis of the conversation you have to have with the team member who is trying to play by their own rules. Your conversation feels less like, “You have to stop being late…” and more like, “It is so important to us at (salon) to grow and when you show-up late you’re trampling on that value….”

The values become your standard for what everyone has to uphold. They let you take the emotion out of it. The best case scenario is that these values were used when you hired your team so that they are attracted to your business because of what you mutually value. No worries if you’re starting today though. Today is better than never. Sit down, collaborate, and brainstorm what you care most about your business feeling like. Then, think through what values have to be in place to create those feelings. You can involve your team in designing the business values if you really want to gain their buy in. I always suggest you host an interactive team meeting to share the values and what they mean to each person. Once this is done it will feel like a weight off of your shoulders because you’ve now set the expectations for the business and you can feel safe using them to guide the tough conversations.

Having a hard conversation based on emotion doesn’t get us anywhere. Not having a hard conversation can cost us more than one employee. Having a hard conversation based on a standard set of values gives us credibility and strength. If your team is pushing boundaries, ask yourself if you’ve properly set and upheld them.

Start where you are

Happy and content? Overwhelmed? Frustrated and ready to quit?

Get your thoughts organized. All the good ones and the bad ones.

Get clear on what you want to see happen. What is the reality you’re dreaming of?

Get clear on the thoughts you MUST think consistently for that to happen.



Start with the thoughts. They lead to action.

Take a cold shower. Find your willpower. Start.


How do you handle the feelings that show up sometimes as a leader?
Our minds are powerful tools that can either aid us or manipulate us into a place where we doubt our journey.


How do you choose to see things?


You have to find the motivation to move forward into the next part of your journey.


Sometimes that means you’ll have to dig deep and other times it will feel easy.  Maybe you need a good nights sleep before you decide to conquer the roadblock holding you back. Or you may need a weeks worth of good nights sleep. The point is, you have to start where you are.

Stay In Touch With Me!
My monthly newsletter highlights news in leadership, provides inspiration, and keeps you updated on where you can see me speak!
We respect your privacy and will not share your information!