This is the first article in a two-part series.
When working with groups of experienced executives and managers, discussions often get around to the subject of Millennials. To put it mildly, they are generally described as a different breed of cat.
But are they?
Like any topic, it would be a benefit to today’s leaders and Millennials if we had an open discussion of our thoughts and concerns. But this doesn’t come easy because we are often fearful that the discussion will break down into a complaint session against an entire generation. It doesn’t have to be.
Allow me to share some thoughts and get the conversation started.
I find it interesting that during World War II, most of the 2,200 officers and men of the Battleship North Carolina were similar in age to today’s Millennials, or even younger. These youngsters were thrust together as a generation and called upon to do their duty to hold back the tide of fascism.
This may be a little overdramatic to describe today’s Millennials but bear with me. These young men (in today’s Navy, I could use “men and women”) were bright-eyed, energetic, drawn to a fast-paced environment, expecting success and wanting to get on with it.
The more I read and study, the more I realize the Millennials are no different from their WWII predecessors. Surveys show they want to be led by men and women that care about their development and success including:
- Wanting to be engaged through challenging, stimulating work that enables them to learn new skills that will lead to advancement.
- They like the idea of working as a team and given opportunities for training, coaching and mentoring from seasoned professionals.
- They want to be challenged and pushed to the edge of the envelope and learn through their experiences and mistakes.
- They prefer regular feedback in order to understand how to improve and be recognized when they succeed.
Actually, they want to be led the way older generations wanted to be led. They only want it on a more condensed timeline. Consequently, as a leader today, you had better be prepared to lead like they want to be led. You’ll need to pick up the pace and know your stuff – which is actually a benefit to all.
The problem is, our preparation to lead has been lacking. Surveys show 95 percent of today’s execs and managers have had no training in leadership. That means either we have not been allowed to seek training or, worse, we feel the way we were led is all we need for training.
Bad idea if we want to lead Millennials. Leaders of Millennials today must know themselves, know their team and know their stuff.
My next article will talk about what to look for in improving your leadership skills so you can focus on leading these Millennials.
Ron works with emerging leaders, execs, entrepreneurs and managers who want to sharpen their leadership skills and inspire their teams to achieve a level of performance beyond their imagination. He does this by providing high-impact, energizing programs that give the participants an opportunity to learn and practice the guiding principles of leadership that are crucial to establishing a success-oriented environment. You already know a lot about leadership, Ron helps you to amp it up and put it all together so that you use your abilities in a disciplined fashion every day to achieve results?! His course participants are unanimous in their feedback, "I wish I had attended earlier in my career." He has also brought his Leadership Excellence Course to the Battleship North Carolina, where participants learn in a most inspiring environment how to motivate people, the power of integrity, the reasons for good feedback and many other defining leadership principles that help leaders and teams get to the next level and achieve results. You can check out some other course opportunities at AcademyLeadership.com. Look in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Wilmington areas.