Episode #5: Leading Millennial Teams?

Yes – I know, the topic of millennials in the workplace has been discussed to hell and back.

However, most people that discuss how to manage millennials tend to not actually be millennials – most of the articles and content I’ve seen online felt pretty inaccurate and not based on the actual insight from us young people.

Hence I decided to make this episode. I’ve had the privilege to lead a lot of young people directly or indirectly in the last few years and that’s taught me a lot about what works and what doesn’t when dealing with my own age demographic.

Let’s break down the 5 most important things I’ve learned:

  1.  Feedback. I made a whole episode on feedback last week, so you can check that out for more details. But I’ve learned that it’s critical for young people to consistently receive feedback about themselves and their work, because the feeling of having improved is one of the most gratifying things they experience. It highlights remarked improvement for them and validates the work they put into improving themselves.
  2. Communication. Millennial communication has evolved drastically when compared to the generations before us – both in terms of communicating at work, but also in terms of communicating outside of work. To be able to relate to them, you need to talk to them, and this starts with your team communication channels. Frequently talking to your team about work and non-work related things is going to build a bond and make you significantly more likable as a manager.
  3. Freedom. Shit like “fail fast to succeed faster” is quoted by entrepreneurs and hip managers all over the place, but very few actually put their money where their mouth is. Nothing is more liberating for a millennial than their boss telling them that they have the power to make a decision. Giving them the freedom to approach their work and goals however they deem appropriate is going to be huge for them and communicates a certain level of trust in their ability. Obviously you can’t sponsor all their ideas and always take their side when it comes to trying new things, but you can definitely give them the freedom to manage themselves.
  4. Consciously developing a team culture. “You don’t quit a job, you quit a boss / culture.” That quote is surprisingly true. Company culture is the number one driver of success and retention – there’s plenty of research on this. It’s the number one thing I get asked about when we’re hiring – “what’s the culture like at your company?” If you practice #2 properly, you can use your team to identify the right culture to develop, which will have long-term impact on retention and attracting more top talent.
  5. Showcasing impact. Millennials want to see the impact of their work. Whether it’s the big picture or the small picture, if you can show a young employee the kind of impact they’re having on your team, customers, department or company – you’re able to feed them the kind of positive reinforcement they need to feel gratified and justified. Show them off to others, publicly show your pride in your team – that’s the kind of shit that will empower your young people like nothing else.

Hope you enjoyed this episode! If you have any insights, I’d love to hear about them.

Per usual, you can hit me up on social media @mkwernicke on IG/Twitter and SolutionsOriented on FB!

 

 

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