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Managing the Millennials, 2nd Edition by Mick Ukleja, Chip Espinoza

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Chapter 9Be Positive When Correcting: Fragile, Handle with Care

Disarming the Defensive

It is never their fault. And why not, I mean they've been told that they are special every day of their life while growing up, and then they come to work, and we say there's a problem and guess what, it's you! So what do we expect, of course they are going to be offended? It's just that you can't say anything to them without it blowing up.

—Shoe company manager

Sometimes I avoid giving feedback that is not positive because I don't want to deal with the drama.

—Real estate office manager

They kind of deflect critique. I just roll with the punches and guide them in the right direction. Normally it takes a couple of confrontations to get through to them, but you have to be patient.

—Country club manager

We don't expect them to be our best friends, but when they critique us, we want them to do it in a friendly way.

—A Millennial

Constant affirmation has undermined genuine recognition and left too many members of the Millennial generation without the sense of security required to tolerate criticism or even listen to it. In Taiwan, Millennials are playfully referred to as strawberries—because they bruise easily. (See Table 9.1.)

Table 9.1 Disarming the Defensive

Disarming (Be Positive When Correcting) Defensive
A proactive response to conflict. It involves de-escalating intense interactions, listening, being fair, and embracing resistance. Millennials often experience anger, guardedness, ...

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