Tag Archives: leadership

10 Costly Mistakes Business Leaders Make on Twitter

I am pleased to share my latest Entrepreneur article on mistakes business leaders making regarding the use of Twitter.

My profession affords me the opportunity to work and talk with many entrepreneurs and other leaders about social media. Just as important, I observe their use (or nonuse) of social media.

Twitter remains one of the most popular platforms for people to exchange ideas, promote news and express opinions. I’m a social media enthusiast, but my work in employment law makes me all too aware of the risks inherent in these instant-post tools.

My Top 10 list of costliest mistakes might surprise you. Its entries stem as much from underuse as from misuse.

1. Not using Twitter.
Some entrepreneurs and business leaders still believe social media is a waste of time. Respectfully, they are wrong. This means of communication no longer is cutting-edge. It’s mainstream, and Twitter is firmly at its center. Use it to your advantage.

2. Only sharing.
Some leaders have exuberant spirits. They freely share ideas and thoughts. While sharing is wonderful, it’s only part of the equation. Social media is about connecting, not simply spouting or increasing your profile. Every leader should keep this in mind at all times.

3. Retweeting without reading.
Other people retweet articles or posts seemingly without reading the full content. In these circumstances, a user’s comment might not match the source material. Retweeting without understanding the context can be disingenuous. If there’s bias or offensive conduct in the underlying tweet, this practice also can be dangerous.

4. Following only like-minded individuals.
Talk about diversity often centers on gender, race and other groups (or classes) protected by law. But there’s another crucial aspect to consider. Cognitive diversity offers a different perspective or opinion.

Interacting with only like-minded individuals limits your vantage point. Following those with whom you often disagree will expose you to different views and possibilities.

5. Interacting intermittently.
At the risk of overstating it, you need to be a player. There’s so much social media activity that if you put a toe in the water only occasionally, you aren’t likely to make vital connections. You don’t need to tweet every day, but tweeting once a week isn’t enough to keep up your profile.

6. Attacking others.
From time to time, you’ll see something that produces a strong, negative reaction. It is best not to use social media as a way to attack others. There are polite ways to disagree. Just as in interpersonal matters, sometimes the best response is none at all. Why give more light to an idea you believe belongs in the dark?

7. Responding every time you’re attacked.
Anyone on social media who takes a stand has been attacked. If you counter-punch everyone who is critical of your stance, others might see you as thin-skinned. Pick your battles wisely so you aren’t labeled an insecure snowflake. Strength can come from silence as surely as it can from powerful words.

8. Failing to be transparent.
Federal Trade Commission rules require individuals to disclose when they are promoting products or services with which they are identified. For example, if you’re praising an item your employer manufactures, you must provide this disclaimer. Transparency, though, is much more than a question of satisfying FTC regulations. It’s good business.

9. Not separating the personal from the professional.
All business is personal and all politics are local, as the sayings go. In these hyperpartisan times, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone without at least one or two deeply held beliefs.

If you tweet on political issues or other topics that might be seen as controversial, you’d be well-advised to make it clear your views are yours alone — not those of your employer. It’s easy enough to include that distinction as part of your Twitter profile. Here’s an added caveat: Do not include the name of your employer or company. That only solidifies the precise connection you’re trying to avoid.

10. Tweeting only business-related items.
Social media is a pervasive form of mass communication, and you should be thoughtful about what you tweet. But if you spend all your mental energy trying to please everyone, you won’t really connect with anyone.

As you develop your brand, consider sharing your thoughts or posting articles on issues beyond your business focus. In my personal life, I’m very involved in animal rescue, I love Bruce Springsteen, and I’m mad about “Mad Men.” Expressing myself has led to meeting many kindred spirits — some of whom now are clients, too.

Kindness

I am pleased to share my latest post to The SHRM Blog on kindness and leadership.

I like to read and re-read blogs on leadership. They are helpful reminders on what I need to keep doing (or not doing) and where there are opportunities for personal growth. Although expressed from different perspectives, the articles often cover the same attributes or competencies that we rightfully expect from good leaders.

I am struck by how often we need to be reminded to listen. Sound too basic? If you are preparing your response when someone is talking, you are you fully listening? The answer is NO, and I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis.

And, of course, we are reminded that we need to express our recognition. But, too much attention is paid to recognizing concrete accomplishments and not enough to existential recognition: acknowledging someone exists by saying hello or non-verbally recognizing their presence.

I am glad to see more articles/blogs focus on caring. If you don’t care for your employees, they won’t care for you. So, some of our caring, if we are honest, in self-serving. .

But absent from the blogs that I have read is one attribute that feels endangered in our fast-moving, highly-polarized and sometimes cruel world: kindness. By kindness, I mean warm and gentle thoughtfulness with no expectation of a return on investment.

A casual smile. Picking up coffee for a colleague. Pulling back when you know someone needs space. Leaning in when you sense someone needs to talk. Asking someone if they are feeling better. Looking the person in the eyes with attention and not agitation.

We all have heard the expression “random acts of kindness.” That we need to be reminded to do them randomly speaks to their deficit in the ordinary course.

Being kind to people means more than caring about their concerns or appreciating their contribution. It means truly recognizing the humanity of a colleague without thinking about how what you do may benefit you.

As leaders, we need to do more than perform random acts of kindness. Kindness needs to be in our DNA. That does not mean being weak. And, it does not mean avoiding hard decisions. One of the best HR people with whom I have the pleasure to work was thanked after she terminated someone. The terminated employee thanked her for her kindness.

The antithesis of kindness is bullying. When I see bullies, I see weak snowflakes – those who can feel good about themselves only when they make others feel less than them.

When I see kindness, I usually see strength, someone strong and secure enough that they can risk being and being seen as more gentle. And that leads to the ultimate question: are you strong enough to be kinder?

10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays and Minimize Legal Risk

I am please to post my most recent blog on 10 ways to maximize inclusion and minimize the risk of the holidays: https://www.entrepreneur.com 

The rapidly-approaching holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it also poses legal and employee relations challenges to entrepreneurs of all sizes. But most of these challenges can be mitigated with some thoughtful planning. So here’s a checklist of issues to minimize the risk that your December celebrations will result in January claims.

1. Don’t eliminate Christmas.
Don’t eliminate Christmas from the holiday season, says this Jewish guy. It’s a beautiful holiday that should be celebrated. And a Christmas tree is just fine, too. But what about those who don’t celebrate Christmas? Read on.

2. Include other holidays.
General rule for the holiday season: it’s about inclusion, not exclusion. Rather than excluding Christmas, recognize other holidays, such as Hanukkah and Kwanza. Consider a menorah and Kwanza basket along with the Christmas tree.

3. What holiday did you forget?
You don’t know what you don’t know. Profound. So, ask. Ask employees if there is a holiday that they would like to see included in the celebration (and that includes decorations).

4. What should you call your party?
“Holiday party” is the most inclusive term. Make your party more inclusive by having decorations and the music reflect diverse holidays.

Think also about your choice of decorations and songs. Those that are religious are more appropriate for religious celebrations (or for religious employers).

What if someone is offended by Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”? May that be your biggest problem.

5. Should you serve alcohol?
Never serve it to minors. Make clear adults who get it for them will be fired. As for adults, take steps to minimize abuse, such as limiting drinks, providing lots of food or even making employees pay for alcohol and then donating the money to charity.

Even with restrictions, assume some people will abuse the alcohol you serve. Consider having cab vouchers ready for them without management knowing who the users are. This increases the likelihood that those who need vouchers will use them.

6. What about harassment?
December parties inevitably bring January claims about wandering hands, loose lips and… I’ll stop there. Remember, Jack Daniels is no defense.

This year, the EEOC has called out that alcohol is a risk factor when it comes to harassment, so focus proactively on this risk. Remind your employees that your harassment policy applies to the party. And make sure to name “designated watchers.”

Finally, if you are in management and you see or hear unacceptable comments or conduct, you must intervene. To see and ignore is to condone and increases your legal exposure.

7. What about the after-party?
To be blunt: no good comes from after-parties. Unless, you consider claims arising out of the after-party good. Make clear you are not sponsoring any after-party and do not allow employer money to be used for it. And never attend if you are in management. Attending is about as safe as walking on railroad tracks

8. How about gifts?
Here, too, anticipate the inappropriate. Remind employees that your harassment policy applies here, also. Stay away from the sexual or suggestive, such as gifts from Victoria’s Secret. Rule of thumb: if the gift is appropriate primarily for someone with whom you are intimate, don’t give it to an employee.

9. What about greetings?
It’s best to be general with your holiday greetings unless you know otherwise. The default should be “Happy Holidays.” But if you know someone is Christian, by all means wish that person a Merry Christmas. I know I do.

And I like when people wish me a “Happy Hanukkah” because they know I am Jewish. I am less thrilled if they are making assumptions. Make sure your employees don’t guess or assume anyone’s faith. Stereotypical assumptions here can cause myriad problems, including with customers.

10. Don’t forget the FLSA.
The Fair Labor Standards Act applies all year long, even during the holidays. So, don’t require or strongly suggest that employees attend parties outside of working hours. If you do, you may have to pay them to be miserable. Plus, if people don’t want to come, do you really want their misery there?

With all the difficulties that can accompany the holidays in the workplace, it’s a time to remember how lucky we are to be alive, and to love and to be loved. May peace be with you. Shalom.

17 Tips for Anti-Harassment Training

I am pleased to share my latest SHRM post reflecting on the EEOC’s report regarding harassment in the workplace.

The recent release of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) report on sexual harassment shouldn’t be cause for a collective yawn. Rather, the report contains the seeds for great ideas to fight harassment of all stripes, including that based on race, gender, national origin and religion.

EEOC Chair Jenny Yang first announced the creation of a Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace early last year, and her message then was simple: We have made a lot of progress, but the problem persists.

Fast-forward to June, which was the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s recognition that sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. After more than a year of study, including numerous public hearings, EEOC commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic issued their report.

One key aspect of the study is the importance of training supervisors and management. Let’s focus on the following 17 tips for upgrading your training that are based not only on specific recommendations from EEOC commissioners but also on my own advice. (Note: While I served on the task force, I speak for neither the EEOC nor the task force.)

1. Ensure that the training is interactive and facilitated by a qualified trainer. If your employees are passive participants, the training will not achieve its full potential. Ideally, the training should be live. If that is not feasible for cost reasons or because employees are geographically dispersed, you can consider an online alternative, but it should have an interactive component.

2. Confirm that support comes from the highest levels.Without the endorsement of senior leaders, the training likely will be seen as a mere “check-the-box” exercise. Executives should attend the event and ideally provide opening or closing comments. Leaders must make it clear that everyone will be held accountable for complying with the requirements covered in the training.

3. Clarify that the training should be taken seriously. The purpose of this exercise is not simply to sensitize supervisors; it is to help them keep their jobs. Make it clear that the employer, like the courts, holds supervisors to a higher standard than other employees.

4. Emphasize the business risks of engaging in or tolerating harassing behaviors. Such risks include lost productivity, lower employee retention and the employer’s tarnished reputation. Simply put, harassment is bad for business.

5. Provide specific examples of unacceptable behaviors as opposed to making general statements. Examples must be customized so that they resonate in your workplace. Canned training is a waste of everyone’s time.

6. Focus on risk factors that increase the likelihood that harassment will be tolerated. These include a homogenous workforce and workers who are dependent on customers’ tips and may be afraid to speak up. Supervisor training must focus on how these risk factors may increase the potential for harassment so that managers can address problems before they occur.

7. Emphasize what is unacceptable vs. what is illegal.Employers don’t want to suggest that behavior is unlawful when it might not be. For example, in most cases, one comment is not actionable. You also don’t want to imply that unacceptable behavior is OK simply because it is not significant or pervasive enough to violate the law.

8. Describe both severe and subtle examples of harassment. If employers don’t include the less obvious examples, supervisors may define harassing behavior too narrowly. On the other hand, if blatant behaviors are excluded, managers may fail to address what they cannot imagine anyone doing even when it does indeed take place.

9. Address unlawful harassment in all its forms.Harassment can be based on a person’s race, ethnicity or religion. And don’t forget that gender-based harassment, even if it is not sexual in nature, is also against the law.

10. Provide supervisors with guidance on how to respond in the moment. If supervisors aren’t taught what to say from the very moment an employee reports harassment to them, they may say something unwise such as, “That doesn’t sound like Mark.” Make it simple: Supervisors should say, “Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. We take them very seriously.”

11. Emphasize that supervisors cannot promise absolute confidentiality. Managers should report all complaints to HR as a matter of course. However, if they aren’t informed of this step in advance, and they agree to an employee’s request to keep a complaint confidential, then they cannot tell anyone, despite the legal and business risks that go with having notice and doing nothing.

12. Train supervisors to respond proactively to unacceptable conduct. Managers who see, hear or otherwise become aware of harassing behavior should follow up, even in the absence of a complaint. To be silent is to condone. This is why the EEOC recommends that so-called bystander training be incorporated into supervisory education efforts. This type of training is based on the premise that witnesses or others who become aware of harassing behavior (bystanders) play a key role in stamping out harassment.

13. Emphasize nonretaliation. Fear of retaliation is the primary reason employees do not raise concerns when they should. Employers must define retaliation as broadly as the law in terms of who is protected (not just complainants) and what is prohibited (not just discipline and discharge). Examples of other prohibited retaliatory actions include changing the amount of work given to employees, shifting the nature of assigned tasks and excluding workers from key meetings. Emphasize that retaliation of any kind against a person who reports or witnesses harassment will be met with immediate and proportionate corrective action.

14. Provide civility training. Even though rude or uncivil behavior is not unlawful unless it relates to a protected group, incivility is the gateway to harassing behavior. Therefore, the EEOC recommends that employers conduct civility training. True, civility training can create problems with the National Labor Relations Board. But for supervisors who are not covered under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), such training can be infused not only into anti-harassment training but also performance management training without risk of violating the NLRA, if structured properly.

15. Use humor carefully. Appropriate humor can sometimes ease tension so that participants are more open to the training, but it is very important not to minimize the seriousness of the issue. In my experience, humor is best used to poke fun at those who defend inappropriate behavior: “He really thought that if he called her at home off the clock to share his lustful feelings for her, it was not harassment. Perhaps he should be fired for both harassment and stupidity.”

16. Evaluate and re-evaluate. Elicit specific feedback about what resonated with employees and what they want to know more about. Discuss which behaviors do not qualify as harassment, such as a nondiscriminatory but tough management style.

17. Convey that the solution is not to avoid those who are different from us. Trying to avoid harassment claims by avoiding certain groups of employees altogether may constitute unlawful discrimination. Provide specific examples on how supervisors can engage in mentoring and promote social inclusion within a diverse workforce.

Servant Mentorship

I am pleased to share my latest post to The SHRM Blog.

Almost everyone recognizes how important mentoring is. I don’t know anyone who is successful who did not have at least one good mentor. I know I am grateful for mine.

Similarly, I don’t know any good leaders who don’t mentor to some degree. It is more than a mark of a good leader; the mentoring makes the leader stronger by what he or she learns from the mentee.

Of course, people define mentoring differently. It should be more than showing someone the ropes or sharing inside baseball.

A good mentor should have a vested interest in helping his or her mentee succeed. Yes, I recognize that this definition begins to bleed into sponsorship as many define it.

However, I believe the line between mentorship and sponsorship can be somewhat artificial. In my views, the best mentorships include a sponsorship component. The term I use is “servant mentorship.”

One way that mentors can sponsor mentees is by opening doors for them. “I can’t do this but I think this would be a great opportunity for you.”

In these cases, the mentor feels good about the opportunity that he or she has provided. While this may benefit the mentee too, the mentor is benefiting by having someone safe do what he or she cannot.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s not a bad thing. But it’s not as wonderful as it may make the mentor feel.

For me, the best test as to whether someone is a servant mentor is whether they lean back so their mentee can lean in. That means giving up an opportunity for the mentee so that he or she can grow.

“I can do this, but I think you would be great. If you want it, it’s yours.”

Mentees know the difference. And, I believe, they respond in kind.

Opening a door for someone when you cannot walk in is not “servant mentorship.” Not walking in the door when you can but sending your mentee instead is.

Next month I will be giving my monthly slot to a mentee. Thank you to SHRM for joining me in service mentorship.

I Wish

I am pleased to share my latest post to the SHRM blog.

I had the opportunity to talk randomly with a number of #SHRM16 attendees and ask them one question.

The question is based on Steve Wonder’s “I Wish.”

I asked people what they wished were different about their day to day HR jobs. Here are the top 5 top answers I heard.

1. I Wish I Had More Time with the People (Outside of Emergencies)

Spending positive time with employees is more than just an aspiration. It is essential to effective human resource management.

Employees need to know that they matter. And, they won’t if you don’t acknowledge that they exist.

Make sure your employees know that they are valued and appreciated. There is no better way you can do so than to spend time with them.

2. I Wish I Spent More Time with Strong Workers

No question: we all spend more time dealing with struggling employees than we do with those who meet or exceed expectations. Sometimes, it feels like we spend 85% of our time on the 15 percent who don’t meet expectations.

We can’t reverse the percentages, but we can move the dial.  As with everything that is important, reserve time to interact with your solid players and stars.

Don’t just thank them.  Ask them how you can make their work lives easier.

They are often the least likely to complain. They sometimes have the best ideas.

3. I Wish I Spent Less Time On Compliance.

We are talking about human resources, not legal resources.  So your job should not be only about legal compliance.

Even so, legal compliance is a key part of each of your jobs.  The question is how to integrate the legal with other aspect of your jobs.

Think, and show, how legal compliance is in the best interests of the Company’s business. For example, employees who are or feel harassed are diverted from giving their all toward your organization’s mission.  That does not even address the cost of litigation.

And, try to think of compliance as values. While sometimes the regulations are burdensome, employment laws focus on important issues. Thinking of the values underlying the laws makes dealing with the more onerous regulations a little easier.

4. I Wish I Were Not In the Middle So Often

Let’s face it. We often are in the middle. And, sometimes, we get hit from all sides. Remember this.

Employees complain that they are working too hard and have no lives. Some managers complain employees are not working hard enough and spend too much time on their lives.

Remember, you are not a neutral. You are part of management. But you still can help bridge the gap.

For the benefit of the business, let managers know that there is only so much employees can give. By asking for a  a little less, you may actually get a little more.

And, let employees know that more is expected of all of us. Accepting it is more productive than fighting it.

Of course, no one will be fully happy, but you already knew that. But at least you can help the bridge the gap in expectations so it is not insurmountable

5. I Wish I Could Have More Fun

Let’s face it: the SHRM conference is fun.  We all love seeing our friends and colleagues with whom we may connect primarily on social media.

Well, without the help of SHRM, you probably cannot have a party with 15,000 people. But you can have more fun with your colleagues. And I encourage it.

But here comes the lawyer. Be careful when you blow off steam that you don’t say something that could bite you in litigation. Share about frustrations (where they exist). But don’t talk about specific employees or pending, threatened or actual claims. There is no “HR” privilege from discovery.

Let me end this blog by playing a song that I hope will bring a smile to your face.  Just substitute “HR” for “girls”.

Politics and Work: 7 Guardrails for Leaders

I am pleased to share my latest blog for Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270670?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=Sharebar&utm_campaign=Sumome_share

For years, we have witnessed a stark partisan divide. Some families have rules — no politics at dinner.

For employers, it is neither practical nor desirable to prohibit all conversations in the workplace. Indeed, to do so is legally dangerous.

Political conversations that relate to terms and conditions of employment may be protected. One can easily see how many political issues have workplace implications, like the gender pay gap, LGBT rights, religious liberty, Obamacare, paid leave, unions, immigration, etc. I think you get the point.

Still, the political divide can create workplace divides that are unhealthy. So here are some guardrails for leaders to minimize the risk that the inevitable will turn into the incendiary:

1. Remember your role as a leader.

If you are a leader, you don’t forfeit your rights to have political views. But be thoughtful about how you express them. You don’t want to suggest those who disagree with you are idiots. Yes, politics is a diversity issue, and we cannot exclude from the talent pool those with divergent political views.

2. Know your audience.

Some people take differing political views very personally. Unfortunately, in my view, many in both political parties demonize the opposition — so they serve as bad role models for the rest of us.

Make sure, before you talk politics, that there is a good working relationship. I enjoy good political discourse and that includes respectful disagreement — but only with those with whom I have a strong underlying relationship.

3. Focus on the positive.

Yes, you read it right. Safer to talk about whom you support than to talk about whom you loathe.Stated otherwise, it is one thing to say support A. It is another to bash B.

4. Think public versus private.

With a close colleague, a one-on-one dialogue (not diatribe) may be fine. I would stay away from the hard-core political in group meetings or leadership communications.

5. Listen.

I don’t mean to sound condescending (that means talk down), but listen to those with different views. You may learn a lot about them in a way that helps you work better with them.

At the risk of delving into political waters, someone who is a strong libertarian may not like “big employer” any more than they like “big brother.” That does not mean you should abdicate your management rights. But it may inform how you exercise your influence with the employee.

6. Careful of discriminatory language.

The candidates differ in terms of their age, ethnicity, gender, race and religion (in alpha order), among other factors. Comments that focus on what are “protected factors” under the employment laws are deeply problematic.

“Too old.” “Too religious.” You got the point. Don’t go there.

7. Respond proactively if you become aware of potential problems.

I confess that I enjoy watching debates. And, I can appreciate knockout punches regardless of whether I like the person throwing one.

In a workplace, there is no room for knockout punches. If you see temperatures are rising, intervene. Consider: “While we may have very different political views, we have at least one thing in common — we want X. [X is your mission, a specific project, etc.] So let’s focus on that.”

If comments reasonably could be seen as biased, you all but must respond. When you are a leader, there is no such thing as a passive bystander when bias is concerned. So, if inherent in the criticisms of a candidate is the person’s age, ethnicity, etc., make clear it’s not okay. It’s not.

Enough. Everyone back to work.

Care For, But Don’t Coddle, Millennials

I am pleased to share my latest blog for TalentCulture: http://www.talentculture.com/care-for-but-dont-coddle-millennials/

Spend about half an hour Googling for articles on millennials and the workplace, and you will find more written in the last year alone than you will be able to read in a week. How do we attract millennials? What do millennials want? How do we make millennials happy? How do we make millennials feel valued? How do we make millennials feel comfortable?

Then, there are the less public discussions about millennials. In these private conversations, Generation X, baby boomers and traditionalists (and sometimes even older millennials) grouse about what they perceive as an entitlement mentality among some young millennials. Some go as far as to forget the “some.”

From what I have witnessed, there is a jarring juxtaposition between the public and private discourse. This disconnect is disturbing, at best.

Millennials are now the largest part of our workforce. Make no mistake about it; they are an important part not only of the future but also of today. So, we should be thinking about them. A lot.

The problem is that we seem to focus on them to the exclusion of other groups. This boomer worries not enough time is spent on Generation X, for example, the Sheryl Sandbergs and Michael Dells of the world.

Do a Google search focusing on what we need to do attract and retain Generation X. Are you done reading?

From a legal perspective, millennial myopia in the workplace may be evidence of age bias. There is one expression for almost all non-millennials: older workers protected by federal law.

The first year of Generation X turned 50 last year. Soon, all members of Generation X will fall in the federally-protected age group (40 and over).

I also worry that we talk about millennials as though they have monolithic needs and wants. We ignore the substantial diversity among millennials, engaging in the kind of stereotyping we would never do about any race or religion (or, at least, I pray not).

Finally, I worry that the almost obsessive focus on millennials is creating in some millennials that about which some complaint. If leadership mavens worry about your every want and need, it should be no surprise that “I want to be successful” may trail “I want to be comfortable.”

Regarding comfort, no one should have to endure harassment, abusive conduct or even subtle bias or true micro-aggressions. But not every moment of discomfort gives rise to a feeling we needs to articulate, let alone address.

And, for this, I blame those millennials who exhibit such behaviors less than those who have created the expectations giving rise to the actions. No sacred cows, here.

I start with helicopter parents of my generation that have involved themselves too often in their children’s education. And now, some are doing the same in the workplace. “Why did my son not get an A” has become “why did he not get the promotion.”

But it does not stop there. Some of our colleges and universities have gone so far to protect anything that could make anyone feel uncomfortable that that they have not only oppressed dialogue, but they also have infantilized these young adults. As one College President said in exasperation, “This is not a daycare. It’s a University.”

When these young people go from the safe places created for them in the educational space to the real world called the workplace, they sometimes struggle with this reality. When someone does not meet their needs or makes them the slightest bit uncomfortable, they feel microagressed or bullied.

The message is not that we should care less about millennials. The message is that we should apply a more calibrated and balanced approach.

We need to listen to millennials concerns. But we also need to make clear to them what we expect from them.

We need to appreciate the greater focus on life outside of work. But we need to make clear that without happy customers and clients there is no work.

We need to ensure that they do not endure unacceptable conduct. But we need to be clear that feeling uncomfortable does not always mean that someone has done anything wrong.

We need to understand this generation probably has it harder than any preceding it and, with that, a different perspective. But we need to focus on millennials as individuals and not merely the embodiments of generational stereotypes.

Perhaps, and most importantly, we need to care about millennials so that they genuinely feel valued and are productive and entrepreneurial as a result. But we need to be careful not to allow caring to slip into coddling.

When we coddle, we unconsciously satisfy our needs, but we rob millennials of the opportunity to grow. And, in doing so, we limit the growth potential of our organizations.