Managing millennials is a hot topic in today’s organizations. Millennials are the largest generation, and as they move through their life they’re changing all of the major institutions. A lot of research has been done on millennials, more than any previous generation. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. All of this attention has certainly helped us learn more about the different generations, which is useful as we shift to models of management based on engaging and motivating people, but it also brings a false sense of attention to natural workplace dynamics. For example, is it a millennial thing to want work flexibility, or is that more a function of chronological age and life stage? Sure millennials have been shaped by technology and the internet, but is that really much different than when the phone replaced letter writing, or cars replaced horses? Today millennials make up 25 percent of the workplace, and this will continue to expand.
The front edge are approaching mid-career, while the back end of the cohort is entering high school. There’s actually quite a bit of diversity within the millennial generation. The front edge knew both the greatest economic growth in history, the tragedy of September 11th, and the recession that has made this the largest number of young adults who are unemployed, and moving back in with their parents. While the youngest millennials have always known the US to be at war, that communicating around the globe only takes a few seconds, and that women and people of all races are viable candidates to be the president.
Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of Millennials Rising, conducted extensive research on how this generation was socialized largely by parents who are baby boomers. In an attempt to raise children who are confident, had high self-esteems and bright futures, boomers were actively involved in everything from parenting to school life to extracurricular activities. Remember, boomers where shaped by the civil rights movement, women’s liberation and the Vietnam War. As a result they have a strong commitment to equality, coupled with a lack of trust in authority or institutions.
They’ve been more actively involved than any previous parents in history. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase helicopter parents? This phrase was coined for the most assertive parents who hovered and swooped in to save their kids from any level of discomfort. They did this behavior when their children were in school, and they’ve continued to be involved as millennials have entered the workforce. This has led to some challenges for millennials. Many of them have found that college and the work world did not align with their expectations from home. Rewards are fewer and farther between, and that authority figures are not always interested in what they have to say.
However, millennials are known for many positive traits, including their optimism, the ability to multitask, and their focus on achieving goals. They were raised on technology, and can easily learn new devices and social media outlets. Because of the power of the internet they have a global world view, and a commitment to equality. They also care deeply about making a difference and serving their communities. We will also see more and more millennials step into leadership roles, in fact they’re already there. Millennials hold a quarter to one half of managerial positions in the US, and many have become entrepreneurs.
There are a few famous millennials who are CEOs of today’s most successful companies. Millennials differ in their leadership style from boomers and genexers. Again, follow along on the handout. Millennials set broad and challenging targets related to a meaningful purpose. They prefer flat reporting structures, and allow a lot of individual freedom. They build workplaces that are creative and inclusive, and they actively engage and motivate their people. To maximize the contributions that millennials can make to your organization consider using the following strategies.
First, focus on how they can make a difference. Make sure you communicate the meaningful purpose your organization serves, and how their role contributes to its success. Second, team millennials up with other bright creative people, this transcends age. Millennials love working collaboratively, and excel in cross functional relationships, they also enjoy being mentored. Third, give millennials opportunities to visualize the role they could play. They’re motivated by having a sense of their potential career path, so you can engage them through professional development opportunities.
Fourth, harness their focus on goal achievement. They thrive in outcome based environments where they can set clear goals and measure progress. Finally, have millennials mentor others on technology, social media and diversity. They really shine in these areas, and can help everyone on your team. If you make the right management choices millennials will help you maximize a wide range of opportunities that will benefit your organization.
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- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.