Prologue Meet the Newest New Young Workforce

Today's newest new young workforce has so much to offer—new technical skills, new ideas, new perspectives, new energy. Yet, too many of them are held back—and driving the grownups crazy— because of their weak soft skills.

Managers tell us every day in our research some version of what one middle-aged manager in a pharmaceutical company told me: “When I was young and inexperienced, I may have been naïve or immature, but I knew enough to wear a tie, make eye contact, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘yes, sir’ and ‘yes, ma'am,’ and when to shut up and keep my head down and do the grunt work without having to be told over and over again.”

Indeed, the incidence and insistence of managers complaining ...

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