According to a recent study, Millennials (born early 1980s to the early 2000s) have outnumbered Baby boomers in the workplace. Millennials are often criticized and categorized as the “me,me,me” generation. They are perceived as being lazy, narcissist, having poor business etiquette and having a strong sense of entitlement. Yet, they are our future managers and leaders and are re-writing the rules of management as we speak. They are creative, passionate and want to contribute to the success of the company. In order to stay competitive, companies need to know how to groom their millennial managers and build a Human Capital strategy around their management style. Here are some tips to succeed:
Millennials are focused on a collaborative form of leadership where the word “boss” does not exist. They are about asking others “what do YOU think?” They don’t appeal to a form of hierarchical leadership and prefer being perceived as a united front. As such, a company would benefit from having a peer group of millennial managers working together and embracing a form of collaborative management.
It is OK to fail
Millennials are OK with failure, and don’t see it as a negative thing. Their philosophy is all about “we made a mistake, but we will work together on this”. Their focus is on constant learning and growth. They grew up in a household where their parents worshipped them and told them that they will only learn from their mistakes. As such, companies should make failure “ok” as part of their culture.
Tearing down the corporate ladder
Millennials are not all about “racing to the top”. They focus on life as a whole and don’t feel the pressure to be the company’s next CEO. They prefer taking time to figure out what they really want. In response, companies should focus on having individual leadership plans for millennial managers that are revised on an annual basis. In parallel, leaders should have frequent, informal “chats” or “coffee breaks” with their millennial managers to figure out how they see themselves growing with the future of their company. When they feel comfortable, millennials are open to talking honestly about their career plans as well as their personal and professional goals.
Communicating on the fly
Given our technology-driven society, millennials are not good with face-to-face confrontation. They hate giving constructive feedback, and they hide behind their technology. Business leaders need to help them build managerial courage through spot coaching. This involves having one-on-one chats on a weekly or monthly basis with millennial managers to “check-in” on how they are doing and to provide feedback. This, in turn, will enable them to be more at ease with “communicating on the fly” with their team and peers. Did you know? “60% of millennials want to hear from their manager once a day.” (Source: Robert Half International & Yahoo!)
Having fun @ work
Millennials thrive on the “work hard, play hard” philosophy and want a workplace that will be fun. They enjoy hanging out with their coworkers outside the office for drinks and social activities. Encourage this philosophy by empowering a “fun” committee that will take care of planning company events. The challenge here for Millennials is to walk the fine line between boss and friend and they may need to be reminded on the difference between the two from their leaders.