There, I’ve said it.
And, before my inbox explodes with all the hate mail from my more ‘senior’ readers, let me explain.
I like millennials because they have so much potential and yet, they don’t even know it. They are today's 'underdogs' and, once upon a time, I was an underdog, too - all the criticism aimed at millennials could have been aimed at me.
When I was young, I too was arrogant, self-assured and confrontational.
But, there’s another reason I like millennials.
Millennials have learnt from politicians that it's wise to have a healthy disrespect for authority and conformity and that makes them similar to other people I also like.
The thing is though, unlike pilots, most millennials haven't yet realised that just having ‘passion’ isn’t going to get them very far in life. And, that’s fine because it means that when they do work it out, they will be the ones who will go on to change the world.
Pilots understand this.
Whilst most millennials are still trying to ‘follow their passion’, there is a small cadre of young people who realise that it’s not the ‘following’ of a passion that is going to make them successful - it’s the ‘crafting’ of one.
Telling young people that only hard work and sacrifice will lead to success, is not always a popular message. That's because it’s not easy to communicate with a generation that feel let down by their elders but, a great leader will always find a way to get his team to 'go the extra mile'.
A great leader sacrifices her own time to grow her team.
A great leader uses the language of his team so he can be understood.
A great leader is very hard to find.
But, a few months ago I was forwarded an email from the Commanding Officer of a United States Marine Corps Harrier Squadron to his pilots. The email was so in-line with my own thoughts on leadership that I planned to write to him, thank him for his wisdom and cunningly find a way to make him my mentor.
The email was written exactly 6 years ago today and details his guidance to his pilots on a Squadron he’d just taken command of.
The Squadron was Marine Attack Squadron VMA 211 (the Avengers) and the date was 9, December 2011.
In all my time, serving in the UK military, I had never received an email or letter detailing my Commander’s intent.
I was intrigued and read carefully.