Today, I want to talk about millennials and leadership.
Millennials grew up with structure. I can’t speak for anyone except myself, but I can tell you that I’ve never seen someone with structure and an understanding of appropriate expectations fail, unless the business just wasn’t for them, and sometimes that happens.
Millennials grew up with structure, but they also grew up with a strong desire to work autonomously and know that they can mess up and learn. I too would like to work autonomously, and sometimes that means we as managers have to redefine what it is that we want from millennials.
I grew up in an environment where SOS (show, observe, shape) was the most effective way to coach people. I would challenge to many people that it’s still a very effective way of coaching individuals. First, you show them. Then, you observe them. Finally, you shape them.
The interesting thing about millennials, however, is that they may want you to show them and then jump straight to having you shape them. They want to be in an environment where it’s allowed and encouraged to jump in, learn, try, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
I understand that won’t make sense for businesses in all industries, but if you’re in an environment where you can allow millennials to jump in and start however they see fit, it’s beneficial to both them and your business. You would be amazed at some of the questions you have to answer because of their inquisitive minds and their need to know the “why.”
Millennials need strong leaders—not just leaders who will tell them what to do, but also why and how. If you can show that to them and then allow them to jump in, you will be amazed at how quickly and how much they thrive.
The last point I want to address concerning millennials is their creativity. This doesn’t mean that every millennial can pick up a paintbrush and paint a Monet picture, but it does mean that they think differently. They think outside the box, so I encourage you—if you’re not sure how to take your business to the next level or you’re not sure what to do in a certain situation—to ask a millennial. They think differently, and they’re able to enhance your business.
We hear so often that it’s no longer a top-down approach in business, but rather a bottom-up approach. That bottom-up approach is asking for the insights and initiatives that you want to see from your millennials as they become the new leadership generation. They have such creativity that flows through them—not necessarily from an artistic standpoint, but they’re disruptors. They want to challenge the status quo, be more efficient and thrive and learn.
I encourage you to embrace that and allow your millennials to let you understand where we should go instead of you telling them where they need to go. It will make a world of difference, and I’m so excited to hear how it has been impactful for you for the future.
If there is anything myself or my team can do for you or you have any questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help you.