There are many who see the great potential which lies within the emerging generations. There are also those who are very critical of younger generations for their work ethic and mental robustness.
Both schools of thought are correct but it should be remembered that the baby boom generation did grow up in a period of time which was less safe, and where many of the prevailing mentalities were a long way from being open minded. If one casts one’s mind back to the 1970s and 80s, the narrowness of many mind-sets was a common discussion.
How often have we heard many political and business leaders feel it is a weakness to ever show a change in a belief or viewpoint? Far too often politicians have been quizzed over a speech they may have given a decade earlier as though it showed real weakness to change one’s learning. However, isn’t that weakness itself? We all learn, grown and develop as we do change perspectives with increased learning. Accepted thinking has traditionally been very narrow.
Even today one can come across some very narrow thinking amongst established players which can be a genuine barrier within business. It has often been rare to find genuine growth mind-sets amongst leaders who relied far more on their force of character and ability to inspire. The world has changed the skills which mark out a leader. The world is far more international, diverse, open and complex. Leaders today need to be open minded and with a capacity to be broader in their thinking. Too often L&D focuses on skill development when what is really needed is the development of a mind-set. It is mind-sets which today can set one apart from another.
One can critique emerging generations for their mental robustness but they possess attributes which are right for this moment in time.
One of the exciting features which does set the emerging talent apart is their apparent greater open mindness and desire to be more global. The emerging generations may not be as mentally robust as previous generations but they bring new eyes and perspectives to the table which are very refreshing and promises a far more open social narrative be developed.
The concept of Open-mindedness involves being receptive to a wide variety of ideas, arguments, and information. It naturally creates an ability in order to think critically and rationally. This ability is far harder to learn than many give credit to; it is easier to rely on one’s narrow thinking. It means being open to new ideas and experiences; being ready to change and revise outdated or incorrect beliefs as part of learning. Open mindness is also central to a society and business which becomes more tolerant, less prejudiced and open to change. From a psychological perspective, the term is used to describe how willing people are to consider other perspectives or to try out new experiences. It can also involve asking questions and being active about searching for information that challenges your beliefs.
The irony, of course, is that the well documented criticism of emerging generations is to miss what they do bring and what can make so much difference to the future.
They maybe are less alpha than past generations but is this such a bad thing? The counter argument is that where previous generations did score was in their mental strength, their convictions, their stronger stances, their passions and loyalty. There have been many great leaders who have displayed these traits but maybe things are changing? It arguably all part of a shift in a society which was led by personalities and character to one which is growing through insight, learning, greater inclusion, new experiences and a stronger optimism for the whole.