“Coddled;” does anyone know what that word even means? Sounds like week-old milk that's been left out in the sun…not too pleasant for sure. The truth is…coddled means “to treat indulgently or to baby.” TheArtOfManliness.com has an interesting perspective on coddling, as shown in a 2008 article Quit Coddling Your Kids. The author reams parents for being overly protective of their children, turning them into “mamby pamby whiners who feel they are entitled to only the best of what life has to offer.” He goes on to give 6 suggestions of how to stop coddling.
This coddling thing is obviously an issue. One of the first things experts say about GenYLs is...
that we are a “coddled” generation. Our parents were too hands on, protecting us from the real world and giving us way too much love for our own good.
Bruce Tulgan even wrote a book called Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, in which he points out that growing up, we all received sports trophies. In other words, win or lose, we all took a trophy home to protect us from feeling like crap. Ron Aslop went on to write the sequel The Trophy Kids Grow Up. According to Bruce, Ron, and many others, we were coddled.
It seems previous generations have us pegged. We were coddled with Chucky Cheese for every birthday, our parents allowed us to stay home from school if we gave them the Zoolander cough (uh-huh, uh-huh), and our parents just didn't let us suffer enough. Hey, maybe there is something to this coddled rumor.... I even remember my parents taking me to my first job interview when I was 17 and waiting anxiously in the car.
But being coddled isn't all bad. There's actually something very positive about this trait. Having been "coddled" we are arguably experts at coddling others. It allows us to be more connected to those around us, and our ability to connect makes us more effective leaders.
As the workplace transitions from a bureaucratic – centralized management model to a more collaborative – flat environment, employees are expecting their leaders to be more connected to them. Employees need to know they are cared about and protected by their leaders. They need, in essence, a bit of coddling. Who better to provide this important component in the workplace than the young leaders who have allegedly grown up with it at home? The point is, though some may say coddling is mamby pamby, the truth is, if developed to become a sophisticated tool for building connections and creating a supportive environment, "coddling" could become a key to success for many young leaders.