Friday, December 21, 2012

Situational Leadership and Millennial Employees


While not this young, millennial employees often feel too many generations apart from current leaders. This divide causes significant challenges for leaders looking to accurately assess the readiness levels of millennials and assign tasks accordingly.

We define millennials as those born after 1979. They represent the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. They thrive on constant advice and positive coaching, have a strong desire to balance their lives, can often react defensively to criticism, and are not reluctant to question authority.

Taking into account these attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses, effective managers situationally lead the millennial generation through:
  1. Targeted Orientation. Be sure that your orientation program is fast-paced and interactive. Remember that these employees grew up in an era where speed was more important than patience. Find ways to capitalize on their excitement and energy.

  2. Heavy Support. Take a page from their parents’ book and provide good sideline coaching and opportunities to give regular feedback. They thrive on recognition for their accomplishments on the job.

  3. Clarity of Expectations. Recognize that they may need some extra help in understanding job expectations and requirements. If they need to be at work at a specific time, let them know why it matters. If they are a critical cog in a work project, be sure they understand that others depend upon them. This may sound as though you are teaching basic work ethics…and you are.

  4. Authenticity. Finally, be open and honest with them. They come from an increasingly multicultural society where few subjects are taboo. They are likely to see through inauthenticity and will lose respect unless you can be candid…but gentle…in your feedback.
Adjusting to millennials takes some effort. But the rewards of the fresh perspectives they bring to the workplace and to your team will be well worth it.

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