A good friend asked me the other day my thoughts on how to lead the millennial generation, basically those born after 1980. We gather thousands of leaders who fit this category on an annual basis, and most of our Catalyst staff are under the age of 30.
I have to admit—I don’t always get this right. As a 100 percent Gen Xer, my tendency is to lean away from several of these points and lead how I’ve been led over the years by Boomer and Busters. But I’m working on it….
So with that said, here you go, thoughts on leading Millennials:
1. Give them freedom with their schedule. I’ll admit; this one is tough for me.
2. Provide them projects, not a career. Career is just not the same anymore. They desire options, just like free agents.
3. Create a family environment. Work, family and social are all intertwined, so make sure the work environment is experiential and family oriented. Everything is connected.
4. Cause is important. Tie in compassion and justice to the “normal.” Causes and opportunities to give back are important.
5. Embrace social media. It’s here to stay.
6. They are more tech savvy than any other generation ever. Technology is the norm. XBOX, iPhones, laptops, iPads are just normal. If you want a response, text first, then call. Or DM first. Or send a Facebook message. Not anti calls though.
7. Lead each person uniquely. Don’t create standards or rules that apply to everyone. Customize your approach. (I’ll admit; this one is difficult, too!)
8. Make authenticity and honesty the standard for your corporate culture. Millennials are cynical at their core and don’t trust someone just because they are in charge.
9. Millennials are not as interested in “climbing the corporate ladder,” but instead are more concerned about making a difference and leaving their mark.
10. Give them opportunities early with major responsibility. They don’t want to wait their turn. They want to make a difference now and will find an outlet for influence and responsibility somewhere else if you don’t give it to them. Empower them early and often.