Dealing with young talent at work and at home? It can be a challenge if you are not using the appropriate leadership style. This episode covers how to lead young talent through descriptive leadership instead of prescriptive leadership to create win-win environments.

Often young talent in the workforce grew up where prescribing adults controlled outcomes and rewarded kids. This leads young talent to expect bosses to take responsibility and give out rewards too. By leading with a descriptive leadership style, mutual expectations are established so both the business owner and young talent can benefit.

Show Notes

Key Point: Don’t be the prescriptive leader that just feeds the prescriptive attitude.

Definitions for this Episode

Prescriptive Leadership

– Set the objective, spell out the steps to it in great detail, and expect the person to follow the steps exactly. No thinking is needed, just following the steps. The leader takes responsibility and the person gets the reward (i.e. pay).

Descriptive Leadership

– Set the objective and provide some guidelines and best practices, then the person decides on their own steps on how to reach the objective, using their own creativity and personal style. The person takes responsibility and the reward.

Prescriptive Attitude

– An attitude that some adult or authority figure tells me when, where, and how to do things and that’s the end of my thinking and responsibility because those adults are responsibility for the outcomes, which are always positive and to my best benefit.


A Source of the Prescriptive Attitude

Well meaning teachers and parents really, really want the kids to succeed, probably more than the kids themselves and often leads into the trap of prescription everything, including giving the answers if that helps pass a test to the next level. The adults take responsibility for the outcome, not the kid.

A Impact of the Prescriptive Attitude

A lot of young talent enter the work force expecting their bosses (aka the adults in their lives) to continue that detailed prescription of their time and tasks, and expect the adults to take responsibility for their own positive results. And of course, get paid for it too. Unfortunately, this can lead to conflict and tension arising between the business owner and the young talent over expectations, greatly different expectations.

Dealing with the Prescriptive Attitude

If you are business owner or a parent and dealing with young talent. I encourage you to consider taking a descriptive leadership style: set goals and expectations, some guidelines and best practices, and then turn over the completion responsibility to them. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever use prescriptive leadership because it is needed, but be smart about things and fit the circumstances.

If you are one of those young talent, do your best at your position or role. Learn how to help others because that how you build your skillset up. You’ll thank yourself down the road as you pass your competition. Also don’t rely on those in charge to spoon feed you everything. Help you, yes. Let them do everything for you, no. Why do this? Because it’s time to Arise2Live.

Resource Links

Book: Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Red Dwarf “Burnt Cake” Link to Red Dwarf Official Site

Toothpaste Factory Story: “Looking for the right idea will cause you to overlook the creative ones” by Tanner Christenson

Web Article: “Comparison of Prescriptive and Descriptive Strategic Management”

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