A HUGE topic in business and leadership today is ‘Millennials’ – or more specifically… how does one inspire, motivate and engage Millennials? Good question!
Millennials have been described as narcissistic, self-absorb, disloyal, lazy and more interested in their friends than doing their jobs. If that generalization was, in fact, true, I have to say that it is not their fault.
Gen Y’s (or Gen ‘Why’ as I call them), have grown up in a world where there has been on Omni-present ‘helicopter parent’ always hovering overhead making sure that they never skinned their knees, had a problem or had to walk to school. I have even had parents call me at the office and tell me that I did not give their ‘child’ a fair shake when it came to a performance review. They have been told their entire lives that they are outstanding. They got a trophy in sports for participating. As a result, they show up at the workplace and expect things that previous generations had to work years for (offices not cubicles, company cars, six-figure salaries, etc.).
Millennials though, in my experience, are incredible employees. They can be passionate teammates and hard workers. They are brilliant at keeping management focused on company values and purpose. They are great at asking really good “why” questions that challenge the status quo. They bring very different skillsets to the office because of their ability research and find information.
The biggest problem I have found in engaging Millennials, is older generation leaders (Baby Boomers and Gen X) that struggle to understand them.
I have found that as a leader if you are able to shift your leadership focus to accommodate their needs, you will be amazed at how good they are. Some leaders will scoff at me and say they shouldn’t have to shift – that the Millennials need to shift. Shifting our leadership delivery has been around for years – Ken Blanchard called it “Situational Leadership” over 30 years ago.
In a nutshell, here is my list for best engaging Millennials…
Millennials make up the biggest demographic segment in the world. They are here to stay and chances are that you are not going to change their behaviour. If you fight it, you will have no loyalty and will be constantly looking for new employees. Your choice.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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