That was the comment from one of our Millennial employees after our office was doing our usual bashing of his generation. And while it is easy to classify an entire group of people as lazy, self-absorbed, and coddled, it is very dangerous to do this as a leader.
From the beginning of time, the establishment has complained about the younger generation. The Traditionalists complained about the Baby Boomers, Baby Boomers about Generation X and now everyone about the Millennials. Whether it was blue shirts and long hair or a better work life balance, there has always been a biased against the younger generations.
The true leader is the one that knows how to tap into each of their team members and get the best results from them and the group collectively. You need to understand what drives each team member in a few key areas:
1. Values- Millennials tend to value their individualism above all else. The one size fits all mentality really has become one size fits none. You need to work to understand and know each team member as a person and what drives them.
2. Business Worth- Millennials believe that their contribution to the company is the key to their work. You need to spend time recognizing their good performance way more than you point out how to improve. Being part of the team is fine for them.
3. Business Focus- Millennials have grown up with the “It’s a Small Word” mentality. They care about the Global impact of their job and how networked their job is to the rest of the world. You need to explain the big picture to them so that they understand and embrace that their task is making the world and their company better.
You need to adjust your style for Millennials and focus on team work, celebrating small victories, and adding variety to their tasks. You need to understand that for them, effective work is greater than hours worked, that “paying their dues” is not a reason for a task to be done, and that there is no line between work and family time. You need to help them grow up in life as well as in the workplace.
Failure to incorporate this into your management style will cause you to be the “old person” in your office. And no one wants to be seen as the dinosaur. Every generation can agree on that.