Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today

While we’re each busy looking for that “niche” that allows us to rocket to the top in sales and profits, we’re dealing with a niche of an entirely different ilk.

Whether in our own company or among prospect and customer contacts, Millennials no longer occupy only the entry levels of the corporate world. They’ve moved into decision-maker positions and yet, we’re still scratching our heads as to how best to lead and manage them.

See what management and marketing expert Jabez Lebret- our Leadership16 keynote speaker – has to say about this generation.

You may know them as the Generation Why, the Trophy Generation, Gen Y, or Millennials. They are the generation born between 1978 and 1995. This generation has been completely infiltrating your organization. They come with their own unique traits that, when harnessed correctly, can produce incredible results.

As someone who presents at conferences on managing millennials in the workplace, I hear this sentiment at every event: “Why can’t my millennial employees just do it the way everyone else has?”

There are certainly a lot of negative feelings about this generation and the impact they are having on companies. From their use of social media and their improperly perceived loyalty to their friends over the organization to their need to be heard (even during meetings on topics they have little experience with), this generation is certainly different.

The key is understanding that differences are not the problem. When any new generation enters the workplace they bring a new set of characteristics that managers and leaders must adapt to. To compound the issue, your millennial employees are no longer entry level. Today you will find millennial employees as senior managers, mid-level managers, and entry-level staff.

This also means that your millennial employees are at different stages in life. Some recently graduated from college, while others are having kids. Does this change the typical characteristics of your millennial employees? It does not. It does add a layer of complexity to how you need to manage and interact with this generation.

Trying to change this generation is akin to changing the direction of the mighty Mississippi: It’s not going to happen. Instead of trying to force behavior changes, think about how you are managing your millennial employees.

Here are four major areas that impact a millennial’s ability to achieve greatness.

Motivation: Money is not a major motivator for the millennial employee. Sure, they want a paycheck, but there are other factors that motivate these employees beyond the dollar. Instead, start focusing your motivation programs towards these areas: family, time with friends, flexibility, being included on decisions and relationships with team members.

Purpose: Millennial employees are driven by purpose. They have a strong need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Give them a feeling of higher purpose in the workplace and their output will dramatically increase.

Communication: Millennial employees prefer to be communicated to often. You will find the carrot
produces better results than the stick. It’s crucial you encourage your millennial employees when they are doing things correctly. No news is terrible news in this situation.

Philanthropy: This generation is big on giving back and when you can build this into the overall management strategy you’ll find millennials more engaged and happier to be involved. Think of creative ways to intertwine giving back into your next project.

Jabez Lebret is CMO at marketing firm GNGF. A highly sought-after international speaker and journalist, he focuses on marketing, technology and data strategies. An expert on managing Millennials, his clients include Microsoft, Nordstrom, GE, Boeing, Amazon and many others. Catch Jabez at Leadership16 as he offers easy-to-implement steps for leading and selling to Millennials.