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Millennial Musings

Optimize Blog - April 18, 2016 - 0 comments

When working with our clients a common theme from more ‘mature’ leaders continues to be the attitude of young people today who apparently have an alarming sense of entitlement. This manifests itself in the wrong type of work ethic with the older generation seemingly aghast that the expectations of this younger generation are way beyond the ones that they had when they were starting out their careers.
Clearly this is a bit of a broad brush labelling of an entire generation but here at Optimize we do enjoy the irony that as parents we have worked hard to provide all the stuff for our children that we ourselves never had and now we berate them for having the audacity to enjoy those things.
What needs to be understood is that Gen Y is currently the largest generation in the workforce, so it’s inevitable that many of our next leaders will be Millennials. They will move into leadership roles in ways that are much different than generations before them and without the prerequisites of certain job titles or number of years of experience.
The potential for conflict is significant as Boomers have been autocratic leaders that are all about command, control and policies, such as working nine-to-five whereas Millennials want to create a more collaborative environment where they exchange ideas with peers and accomplish a mission instead of a corporate culture that’s rigid with policies and procedures.
This is our reality and as leaders it is a situation that has to be dealt with and handled well. Businesses can’t afford to wait for another generation and hope that the new one will be better. The issue is a real one and one that needs to be managed effectively today, because after all we have businesses to run. It is not going to solve anything to simply bemoan the attitude of young people today – it is a leadership accountability to motivate each individual to achieve their potential.
Millennials have a strong opinion about how they will learn and develop leadership skills. Career coaching, mentorship and rotational assignments were the most desired types of leadership training, according to a recent survey. Lower on the list were e-learning, university courses and instructor-led classes, again supporting the idea that Millennials want to learn through experiences, rather than traditional training.
Aside from providing the training Millennials want, companies should give feedback, set time for introspection and assign mentors to help Millennials find areas of improvement. Companies should undertake leadership and personality assessments to better understand Millennials’ traits and then offer up external coaches and internal mentors to advise them, along with offering a variety of classes and training.
They best way to reach them is through a blended approach so that they can have experience-based learning and apply concepts with simulation to their day jobs. However, one of the most common perceptions around Millennials, job hopping, may come true if they don’t receive training and support that aligns with a clear career path and leadership track.
The reality is that if they don’t understand what the advancement path looks like, they will leave. What are you doing today to engage that individual in your team with the apparent fatal flaw of entitlement? Take time to understand what motivates that individual and work hard on creating a creative, blended development plan which will realize that individual’s potential because one thing is for sure, complaining about the Millennial’s perceived ‘attitude’ won’t get the job done…..

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