How to Lead Millennials

Every generation of leaders faces unique challenges – just think about the last few decades: globalization, the explosion in technology, outsourcing, complexity, increasing demands of customers, etc. However, one of the biggest challenges today’s leaders face is how to lead the Millennial generation – those born between 1980 and 1996.

Surveys reveal just how different they are as a group. In a recent Time article, Dan Schawbel did a great job in summarizing the research. Here’s a quick summary…
Millennials want on-going feedback and coaching – not just an annual performance review.
Millennials want casual Friday everyday – or whenever they chose. They don’t get the "dress up for work" idea (neither do I.)
Millennials think they should be able to create their own schedule. Working 9 – 5 is an artifact of previous generations.
Millennials aren’t all about the money. This is not a surprise. Studies of this generation have revealed from the time they were kids they wanted to change the world. The cause matters to them – shouldn’t it matter to all of us?
Milennials like transparency at work. They want to be part of a community – they understand its power. Check out my previous post on community.
Millennials see the work place as flat. Schawbel introduces an idea that summarizes the view of many Millennials – the ideocracy. A place where the best idea wins – regardless of your title or tenure. I like that too.
So what’s the lesson here for boomers? There are probably several. For me, the biggest takeaway is that we need to avoid the assumption that what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. When Toynbee did his study of the rise and fall of 14 different civilizations, one of his findings: the fall was always preceded by leaders who tried to apply yesterday’s answers to today’s questions. Let’s not repeat the lessons of history.
As today’s leaders, we can lead Millenials well if we’re willing to listen more, be open to new ideas and lead differently![GLS_Shield]


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