Perhaps it comes from growing up on Disney movies that defined everything in black and white, right and wrong, belle and the beast. We see people as either good or bad, and single decisions (like posting the wrong thing on facebook, failing to use a turn signal, or supporting the wrong political candidate) can be used to justify defining and judging a person or entire group.
We read headlines of our heroes character getting the axe and never bother to read deeper because we know they are not the hero we thought they were. Tiger Woods gave us a decade of the best golf in history, but since the moment his mojo started to crack, neither he nor the viewing public at large has been able to have the slightest confidence in his game. This man was the best, and it turns out he was still just as fragile of a basket case as the rest of us.
No matter the source, whether circumstance, worldview, or the resurfacing of a historical pattern, we millennials yearn for heroes that can stand the test of time. This often manifests in the workplace as a clingy need to follow the leader or boss’ directions, but since we’re millennials, we can’t manage to do this directly. Millennials, even the too-cool hipsters, are carefully watching every move, cataloguing (sometimes in horrifying online detail) every word, and judging. As a generation, we have seen so much information and imagery and lies that we are constantly looking out of the edge of our vision trying to catch our leaders and bosses the way they “really are” so that we can learn their secrets, whether good, or bad.
The real secret is that their bosses are no different than they; just like Tiger. As millennials, we will only begin to realize our potential when we start demanding it. As another generation is crowned and rises up in the post-internet, post-trump-candidacy america, we will begin to finally settle down and make a life for ourselves.
What we need most is leaders willing to take those chances and try things out while also staking a claim for mistakes, errors, lapses in judgement, and being human. Only through that kind of courage can we stop living in constant fear of the internet discovering we’re all secretly not good enough.