Millennials Lack Critical Thinking Skills, Says Executive Coach

Last week The Hip Pocket attended the 2016 World Business Forum where I was given the opportunity to interview executive coach and author John Mattone.

Prior to speaking with John, I watched his presentation on leadership and workplace culture. He spoke of a number CEOs that he’s coached from around the world, and one thing they all seemed to have in common was their answer to the question; “what keeps you up at night?”

The answer? Great leaders are starting to retire, and in their eyes, Gen X and Gen Y are not ready to step up.

I was curious as to why this seemed to be a common theme in the world of CEOs, so I asked him about it during our interview. He says the younger generations, despite immense talent, lack the critical thinking skills required for senior leadership roles.

“The ability to decipher and recognise – in a business discussion – assumptions behind arguments and positions, is a skill” he says.

“That is a really important skill to have. If you’re going to be successful, whether it’s an entrepreneurial company nowadays… you got to have critical thinking skills.”

What we are good at, John says, is our ability to collaborate.

“In the young people, the collaborative, team approach, those are massive strengths, but the gap that’s got to be addressed is critical thinking,” he said.

I would argue that we do have great critical thinking skills, but perhaps they are not compatible with those of older generations. Millennials are doing some incredible things in the business world, but they are different and they are disruptive to what John would deem status quo. Just like many other facets of life, the Baby Boomers and Millennials simply don’t see eye-to-eye.

When asked for his biggest piece of advice, John says we should all be finding mentors.

“Identify people who complete you,” he said.

“We all need a board of directors. And I think the younger people who tend to do better recognise that they need not only a mentor, they need a board of directors of mentors, [where] each one offers a different way to being completed.”

Check out the full interview with John below.