I know a lot of millennials and I know exactly what type of leadership does not motivate them: dictatorship. They may appear a bit distracted at times and in love with their cool, new techy devices, but then again, I guess that’s just how millennials are.
Unlike the baby boomers who value hard work, education, and job security, millennials tend to value “following their heart” and “achieving their dreams”. They won’t have that dutiful “I’m at your service” attitude, but their desire to reach the stars is exactly what enables effective managers to motivate them in a unique way that suits their type.
Their dream jobs are not just the kinds that give a steady paycheck, but there has to be much more to a business than that. (Ask Googlers for advice)
Here’s how to lead millennials and have them genuinely engaged in the work they do.
- Be Very Clear: Although millennials may appear to be slacker-offers at times, they really can be quite a hard-working lot – if led the right way. Millennials don’t always know what a manager expects from them and not giving clear directions is the wrong move. They need to managers to be very clear and precise about their expectations and “reading between the lines” is simply not what they are best at. Be honest about your expectations and give it straight to them.
- Give them Something to look forward to: If you’re setting up a wall that will prevent them from reaching above and beyond with their work and aspiring to become something more, know that a millennial won’t stick long. The paycheck and job security is just not “it” for them. Millennials look into career paths, goals, and promotion prospects. Without promotion prospects and something to look forward to in their jobs, millennials simply want out until they can find a place where they can actually reach higher to and climb up a ladder to “reach the skies”.
- Include Training: Since millennials value gaining new skills and experience you need to have a great training program intact. Studies reveal that this generation rates training program three times more than cash and benefits.
- Offer Flexibility: As mentioned earlier, millennials they don’t like dictators. They may oblige, but they won’t earnestly respect you. Millennials like to be in charge of their own actions and this is exactly what you need to tell them from time to time. Clarify your expectations but give them autonomy “to do it their way”. Allow flexible work schedule. For example, four days of 10 hours of work would give them a 3-day weekend. Or if they are willing to work more days for less time, you could give them the flexibility to do so.
- Encourage Feedback: Encourage ideas and feedback. Unlike the Gen X, the new generation isn’t trained to act like robots or machines. Their imaginations run wild and they don’t mind speaking up about what their views are about certain things. Encourage them to give feedback and contribute to conversations that affect the workplace. Not only will it give the millennial a sense of worth by being able to affect decision-making, but also give you some ideas that you may have never thought of before.
- Give Appreciation: Parenting styles with the Gen Yers have proved that millennials simply can’t go on doing something you want them to do without a little appreciation. Let them know that you recognize their efforts and fill up their esteem vials every now and then.
- Be Charitable: Whether it’s their desire to reach “above and beyond” or some other motive, we’ll never know. What we do know is for some reason a millennial’s altruistic desire to impact the society positively are often pleased with socially responsible programs. So if you have a social program in place to help the community, you’ll attract quite a few millennial who would be willing to “get involved”.
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