I have heard many comments this year about the challenges of managing Millennials. Often the word, Millennials, is used in a derogatory manner. This often surprises me as I see so much benefit that Millennials can bring.
When I listen to what Millennials tend to ask for, they are things that earlier generations – Traditional, Baby Boomer, and Gen X – wanted to ask but did not dare in a command and control environment. That environment and the style of leadership that went with it was more suited to times when things were more static. However, we are now living times where things are rapidly changing, where a top down, authoritarian approach is not productive.
Organizations now need to match their leadership and cultures to stay relevant in our current knowledge-based and fast-paced change environment. Enter the Millennials who are quite comfortable with this environment. In come the Millennials with new, innovative ideas that are so importantly needed to flex and adapt to the changes.
Yet, the nostalgia of “how it used to be” creeps in and fogs our vision. Some would try to have Millennials conform to how things worked in the past or judge them for not conforming. This is not working. How, instead, can their strengths be recognized, embraced and integrated?
Here’s some food for thought: Millennials are now out-numbering other generations in the workforce. Many are becoming leaders. What are they looking for?
- Transparency – share the context of what is being asked so that they understand their role in reaching the larger goals
- Feed forward – provide consistent, frequent, forward looking balanced input that is both strengths-based and developmental
- Opportunities to share ideas and be heard – ask them what they think, ask them what they see as potential solutions to challenges, ask them what ideas they have from their perspective
- Skill-building and professional development – provide ongoing programs and coaching to develop self-leadership, leadership, and creativity and innovation, and
- Shared purpose – have a vision that is meaningful and contributes to a better world, include them in the visioning process and/or onboard them with the organization’s larger purpose.
This is a new era. How will you adapt your leadership and organizational or team culture to embrace these changes and fuel your teams to be engaged, productive, and profitable? How can you amplify your success in working with all generations in your workplace and who are your stakeholders?
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