Are Millennials Really Anti-Authority?

2 min read
Dec 10, 2014

Are Millennials Really Anti-AuthorityWhen you hear people talk about Millennials, you’d think the apocalypse was coming. You’ll often hear people say:

  • “They only want to know what’s in it for them.” 
  • They have no respect or loyalty for a workplace.”
  • “They only want to take on projects that interest them.

While this generation might sound like the proverbial bogeyman in the workplace, this black and white label is wrong.

Consider recent research performed by the Center for Creative Leadership. They asked nearly 6,000 workers across the US how much they agreed or disagreed with the following question, “If your manager tells you to do something, you better do it.”

The findings, summarized by the CCL below, offer new insight into the millennial mindset. 


Millennials are 20% more likely than their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts to agree or strongly agree. In essence, Millennials are far more likely to listen to their supervisors and follow-up on requests than their older colleagues.

Does this sound strange? It shouldn’t. Consider that Millenials were born between the years of 1980 thru 2000. The oldest millennial in your workplace is 34 years old. More likely however, the Millennials in your workplace are, on average, in their mid 20’s. 

Younger workers will naturally have more deference to their supervisors. Their lack of experience, training, and institutional history make them less qualified to make decisions. And, their limited time in the workplace makes it less likely that they will know when to push back on projects or requests.

The sky is far from falling now that Millennials are joining the job ranks. The stats above show that rather than being an anti-authority generation, they are perfectly comfortable working with supervisors and getting the job done. The onus is really on supervisors to offer this independent generation the guidance and mentorship they need to take up the ranks as the newest leaders in your organization. 



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