The “Y” Manager on Command: A reflection on the New Management Generation


By André Barcaui

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


In my work as an executive coach I eventually became specialized in that type of professional commonly called “new manager”. Not necessarily as a result of his or her age, but based on his or her management experience. They are typically newly assigned professionals who were not in charge of leadership roles who are now facing this new challenge in their organizations by managing a department or project team. Doubts and insecure that  follow this new cycle in the life of these  professionals, their interface with their team as well as other stakeholders, and particularly with their superiors became the tonic during most of the sessions.

Nevertheless being young is not a stricto-sensu pre requisite for someone being assigned to a management position, my observation is that more and more young people are being seduced by the glamour of management or pushed into it by means of the circumstance in the corporate world like the growth of the economy in countries like Brazil and the dichotomy between the growing demand for experienced professionals from one hand and the shortage of hand labor to the other hand. That’s when the “Y Generation” is being called to show their face in a natural positive and natural vegetative growth of management positions in the organizations.

So who are these new “Y Generation “managers? How well they are technically and emotionally prepared for the role which they have been assigned? What are the conflicts and questions that they will eventually face when interacting with people from other generation in their workplace? These are the motivating key questions discussed in this article which meditates on the insertion of the “Y Generation” in management positions in the market place, while discussing the main characteristics of such professionals of the digital age.

The Origin

Those who were born between 1980 and 1999 have been labeled with the generic classification of “Y Generation”. There are many different explanations to this designation. Simply defining the “Y Generation” is the one that succeeds the “X Generation”. Or it is even speculated that due to the influence of the soviet republic during the cold war it was common in that region to pick first letter to name a newborn, and during the 80’s the letter chosen was “Y”. Anyway, it is also necessary to explain the origin of “X” without going deep into details to avoid deviating from the initial scope of this article. The post war generation (1) had reached maturity so the letter “X” represented a new emerging unknown generation in the middle of political revolutions, the raise of TV as a way of alternative education, the pill impact, and Bretton Woods. Its meaning is attributed to the Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland (2) referring to those who were born in the 60’s through 80’s. Coming to think of it, both letters “X” and “Y” are also highly important in Biology, Mathematics and other areas of the human knowledge.


To read entire paper (click here)

Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally published in Portuguese in MundoPM.  It is republished here with permission of the author.

About the Author 

flag-brazilpmwj15-oct2013-barcaui-AUTHOR IMAGEAndré Barcaui, PhD

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

André Barcaui, PhD is a senior consultant with more than 18 years as manager, and more than 10 as a professor and speaker. He had his Doctoral with Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina), and his Masters with Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil). He holds both a Psychology as well as an Information Technology degrees. He is the current coordinator of the Project Management MBA for FGV/RJ – Fundação Getúlio Vargas (Brazil) and earned his PMP certification in 1999, when working as a co-founder of PMI Chapter Rio de Janeiro. He was the Project Office Manager of Hewlett-Packard Consulting for the Latin America Region and before that worked for IBM as a Project and Services Manager. He also holds Master Coach Certificate by the Behavioral Coaching Institute (BCI) and works as the Executive Director of B&B Brothers, a specialized organization on project management training, consulting and executive coaching. He has three published books: “Gerente também é Gente” (Business Novel: “Managers are People too!”,Gerenciamento de Tempo em Projetos” (“Project Time Management” – FGV Management Publishers), “PMO – Escritórios de Projetos, Programas e Portfólio na Prática” (“PMO – The Practice of Project, Program and Portfolio Offices” – Brasport Pulbishers).  André can be contacted at [email protected].