Millennial Madness: Don’t be caught holding the door open for them (as they walk out your doors)! - December 7, 2011
I continue to talk with leaders and Millennials as a part of my research for my upcoming book and I am fascinated with the energy and passion that surrounds this topic. In fact, even the churches are getting into it! Damascus Road Community Church sponsored a recent series about the Generations and our Youth Pastor, Roger Record focused on the Millennials in a recent message and it was extremely pragmatic and insightful. I thought I would highlight a few of the points that are relevant to the workforce, and also in relating to this generation as a whole. If anyone is interested in exploring the spiritual side of the Millennials, you can download the message for free – just click Listen/Watch.
- Community-minded, team-oriented, prefer groups- so as a whole, they are natural collaborators and want to work with each other. They are consensus driven, so putting them on the spot to make a decision without giving them an opportunity to bounce it off someone or their team can be stressful.
- They are connected. Social Media allows them to manage hundreds of relationships virtually simultaneously. I hear the Silent Generation, my Boomer and Gen Jones counterparts complain that they can only text and cannot have a conversation with anyone. I do not see this as fact. I just see that it as an AND. They text AND can verbally communicate. Shutting down the communication is what is difficult (like addictions to interactive video games, playing against someone and the competition with people they do not really know.)
- The integrate life into the work of the day – they watched their parents live work-acoholic lives, get laid-off, stress about work and at the sacrifice of their quality time together, they aren’t interested in putting life on hold for the sake of upward mobility. Plus, they work odd hours, so they get the task done, it may just not be in a traditional way.
- Autonomy and inclusion – they like to be included in the decisions that affect them. They were included in the family decision-making and like to voice their opinions. The hierarchical ‘secret club’ does not work for them. They prefer an environment that allows them to be a part of creating the ‘what’s next.’ And then let them go and complete the task with the freedom to figure it out for themselves.
Micro-managing is a big turn off. Mentoring is the mindset to approach this generation in our workforce today if we want to get the most out of them. I also hear some managers say “they need to suck it up and just do as they are told.” Well, that may be your preference, but it is not how to engage this bunch (nor me for that matter.) They want to follow us as leaders as long as we show them the respect they have grown to expect (and may I remind you, their parents – we – gave them that expectation.) Some call it an entitlement mentality, but my generation raised them to want more from their lives than we had. To expect to be treated better and differently than we had to in the ‘paying of our dues’ that is now an antiquated philosophy.
Savvy companies are putting together forums and learning circles for Millennials. Fortune Magazine published an article that development professionals should take a look at. They talk about grooming our next generation of leaders. Millennials are smart, techno-savvy and confident. We have an obligation to best prepare them, and to be innovative in how to reach them. ”That’s the way we do it here” is not going to harvest the bounty that is the potential of this group. I, quite frankly, LOVE these young leaders and look forward to helping them thrive, and following them.