In my mind, one of the defining characteristics of Gen Y is that we don’t like anything that is overly corporate or structured. Maybe we’re all just striving to be unique individuals, but overall we love the idea of going against The Man.
I’m all for that point of view, but recently I’ve started to see another side of the coin: The Man (aka the leader of a large corporation) cares more than you’d think.
Hear me out, please.
Gen Y employees tend to be lower down in companies (given our age), yet there are many of us who think we know best. Sometimes our ideas are very innovative. Sometimes they are extremely naïve and/or idealistic. Other times we are business-savvy but have superiors who refuse to listen or shift away from the “traditional” methods that have always worked in the past.
But the biggest misconception is that CEOs just sit in their corner office raking in the dough and not caring about the company.
You know why that’s not the case?
Because when shit hits the fan, the CEO is the one who gets canned. They are the face of the organization—the one with the biggest responsibility of all: Making sure the entire operation is running, and running successfully.
So, yes, the CEO gets that nice fat paycheck, but “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” (Yes I’m a nerd and quoted Shakespeare’s Henry IV)
When a company as a whole doesn’t live up to expectations, it’s not those of us at entry-mid level who gets blamed in the public eye…it’s the CEO.
I’ve actually seen this theory in action as I’ve begun to manage others. I’m lucky to work with some very talented individuals, but still if something goes wrong…it’s all on me. Both my clients and my boss are going to look to me because it’s my job to run these accounts, so it’s my job to make sure the other people on my team are doing things right.
Unfortunately, things go wrong that are out of our control. Guess what? I’ll be the one taking the lumps for it.
Yes, I know there are many business leaders who have outdated ideas and could benefit from learning a few lessons in their industry. There are others who might just be counting down the days until retirement. But for the most part, I really don’t think that’s the case. There are many CEOs out there who are truly passionate about the organizations they run.
So, let’s give business leaders a break. It’s really easy to pass judgment until you’re in a similar situation and realize why someone might have come to the decision they did.
Keep in mind that there’s a downside to everything. A CEO might be on top, but they’re also sitting on a pile of responsibilities that we don’t have to deal with.
(photo credit goes to playingintraffic.wordpress.com)