Feb 272018

Millennial leaders believe leaders do the right thing… for the right reasons. It seems that this age group understands “right” from “wrong” and wants to pick “right” for the right reasons. You may hear them say it is important to choose “the hard right over the easy wrong.” How is this different from previous generations?

Millennials usually see a clearer path and feel that it is easier to pick the right thing compared to people from older generations. They seem to be very aware of mistakes made by previous generations that led to bad outcomes for business. They either studied these cases in school or were impacted directly as they saw their parents lose their jobs when their companies were downsized or filed for bankruptcy. At that point, these future leaders were learning lessons on how they would not behave when they became business leaders.

But how does a leader know what the right thing is? Great leaders genuinely want to do the right thing. They are not thinking about themselves first. Instead, they are thinking about the greater good and deciding if their decisions are the right thing to do.

Feb 202018

Millennials learned about helping others at an early age, often through school projects focused on community service. Many Millennial leaders say they first learned their leadership skills by working on teams focused on social services or helping others. Their college applications listed community volunteer work and the accomplishments they had already achieved in their efforts to help others while making sure they were keeping up with their peers. This work of helping others continued during college as their compassion was demonstrated through their choices of summer internships and volunteerism in the local communities.

Awareness of social issues and commitment to volunteerism continue to be important values to Millennials when they are considering where they want to work and how they feel about the leaders they work with. Millennial leaders want to work for a company that has the same social responsibility values they have. Leaders in today’s organizations must recognize this community service and social awareness drive in their Millennial leaders if they want to keep them engaged and inspired in the vision of the company. Having a company social responsibility component in the mission means a lot more when part of the profits are automatically donated to a worthy cause. Another way to accomplish this can be an annual fundraiser that everyone can contribute to, either financially or through their efforts. This idea is even better if customers are involved in contributing to the efforts. One other way that Millennials can see their company and its leadership showing their concern for social responsibility is in how they allow individuals or groups to take time away from work for volunteer efforts. It can be a great show of community spirit to allow a department to participate at the food bank or in a disaster relief effort together and not make them take the time spent as vacation time.

These concerns for social responsibility are the reasons Millennials think so highly of companies that use the one for one giving model like TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, Bombas, and BetterWorldBooks, and other socially responsible companies like Zappos and Salesforce. Many of the more established companies like GE, Cisco, IBM, and Deloitte have taken notice and jumped to the top of the lists in corporate social responsibility in order to attract Millennials.

Millennials are carefully watching how their organization handles situations involving community service and social responsibility and deciding if it aligned with their values. If it is, they are more likely to be more dedicated to the company, and if it isn’t, they will soon find another place to work.

Feb 052018

Each generation applies fundamental characteristics of leadership in their own unique way. Trust is one of those characteristics that is noticeably different between generations. Each generation views it as an important leadership quality, they just look at it differently. The Millennial generation has a reputation for being open, self-assured, hopeful, well educated, and goal oriented. Millennials have benefited from each of the three older generations, learning allegiance and trust in organizations from Traditionalists, confidence and optimism from Baby Boomers, and a healthy dose of skepticism from Generation X. Millennials refocused the allegiance and trust in organizations they learned from Traditionalists to allegiance and trust in relationships. The confidence and optimism they learned from Baby Boomers helped Millennials turn the skepticism they learned from Generation X into an ability to look at the present more realistically than Baby Boomers, while still maintaining a positive outlook about the future.

Honesty and trust may be more important than ever in today’s world of social media and increased speed and breadth of communications. Leaders must quickly learn who they can trust in a world where messages and reputations are open to many viewers. This transparency leads to an understanding of the reasons behind a leader’s actions, which need to be for the right motivation, or the trust will be lost.

As an essential characteristic of leadership, there are three components of trust in the view of the Millennial leader:

  1. The organization’s vision should be trustworthy for all involved, i.e. for the greater good.
  2. Leadership is honest and transparent and can be trusted.
  3. Millennials are competent and can be trusted.

Millennials expect a lot of communications and feedback. Those in leadership roles want to know even more about their own performance, their team’s performance, and the company’s. Some recommendations for feedback to Millennials include:

  • Updates on the vision and goals and how it relates to their role
  • Status of their projects, including feedback on project success
  • Individual feedback, with more responsibility after action or success

Millennial leaders often value the role of a coach or other role model in encouraging them to step into a leadership role or to recognize they were viewed as a leader and to embrace it. An additional aspect of the coach as a leadership influence is the disillusionment of learning, as these Millennial leaders have become adult leaders, that not all coaches are good, honest, and trustworthy.

Learn more about Millennial leaders and their leadership style by buying my book. Available by clicking the Buy tab above.

Jan 262018

Millennial leaders say they are motivated by passion. You may think, what’s the big deal? After all, isn’t everyone more motivated when they are passionate about what they are working on? Yes, but the NEED to be passionate about their work is unique to Millennials compared to older generations. Millennials say passion drives their desire to be inspired to leadership and to accomplish goals. While other generations will agree that having passion for their work or a project is nice, when asked what drives them to be good leaders they are more likely to say accomplishing goals, money, success, family, civic duty, recognition, or a few other things before they say passion. Millennial leaders feel that passion for their work or a goal drives them to be leaders. Frequently it was the passion to accomplish something that made them step into a leadership role.

If you are a manager from another generational group working with a Millennial, you may find this challenging. Why should you care if the Millennial feels passionate about their work? This is their job to self-motivate so they care about being at work every day. But again, Millennials don’t always see it that way. As a group that looks at leaders as people who inspire them, they expect the leaders of their organizations to provide them with the inspiration and enthusiasm that helps promote the passion they should feel for the work they are doing. If their leaders aren’t passionate about the organization, how can the workers be passionate and, in turn, how can they be motivated to do their jobs. It’s just a different way of looking at it. My take on it is that putting some enthusiasm into your work has always had its payback but this is true more than ever if you have Millennials on your team.

My book is now available and the information is on the blog under a different tab. I hope you will find it interesting and helpful if you are in the workplace and trying to understand some of the generational issues in the leadership ranks.

Jan 082018

Mentoring is currently a trending topic in leadership development. Mentoring has gained popularity as aspiring leaders in the workforce recognize the benefits of tapping into the experience of a leader who has already had an opportunity to learn leadership skills in the real world through their work experience. What could be better than asking for advice from someone who already knows what happens in a situation rather than spending time speculating then trying it only to find out it was a really bad idea? That’s one of the great benefits of finding a great mentor to be a sounding board and advisor. So, for a good many years we have thought of mentors as older people helping younger people. But I often hear this comment from mentors who say, “I got as much out of the experience as my mentee” (or protégé, whichever name you call them). That led to the concept of reverse-mentoring with the recognition that the older person often learned from the younger person. A great example is the way that younger people are teaching IT and social media skills to older workers. This makes you wonder who the real beneficiary is in a mentoring relationship. Frequently, it’s both parties. And, maybe the point isn’t which party is benefitting but how a bridge of understanding is built between the two because they start to appreciate each other’s perspective on the situation they are discussing. Having a mentor is very popular with Millennials and their mentors are usually older, such as Baby Boomers. Just think of the two-way bridge of mutual understanding that can be built through the application of mentoring between different generations. Maybe there is a way across the generation gap after all.

My book is now available and the information is on the blog under a different tab. I hope you will find it interesting and helpful if you are in the workplace and trying to understand some of the generational issues in the leadership ranks.

Nov 282017

Most Traditionalist leaders have already retired, and each year sees more Baby Boomer leaders reaching retirement age, leaving Generation Xers and Millennials to fill more leadership positions in organizations. Successful organizations will need to begin understanding the leadership style of Millennial leaders in order to hire, motivate, and retain these future leaders. The leaders from the Millennial generational cohort will soon be a dominant factor in the workforce, making it important that today’s leaders begin to understand tomorrow’s leaders.  – Millennials Taking the Lead, The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace is now available through this website and Amazon. Please click on the Buy tab if you would like to purchase the book or go to Amazon. After you read it, please write a review on Amazon so others will buy it!

Jul 062014

I frequently hear the comment that Millennials are entitled. Sometimes I hear it as a question, “Why do Millennials feel so entitled?” Baby Boomers ask, Generation Xers ask, and Millennials have accepted the fact that everyone thinks they are entitled. Millennials will either try to answer it, rationalize it, or just ignore it.

The answers to this question are all over the place depending on the perspective and the current hot button of the person answering. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers lean more toward explaining that this newest generation in the workforce is lazy, spoiled, and their helicopter parents overindulged them so they expect the world to be handed to them once they finish college or reach semi-adulthood if they decide they don’t need to finish college.

The answers from Millennials are a lot different because they don’t have a universal concept of what that means. I’m not sure they really feel entitled, it’s more that they have been convinced by everyone else saying it so they defend it or accept it. For example, they are often said to be entitled because many of them moved back home after college. In most cases it’s not because they want to, it’s because the job market is so bad and living with their parents is better than being homeless. They didn’t go to college with the plan of returning home.

One Millennial told me that entitlement was all about social media. When they are on social media sites and see what their peers have, they feel the need to have the same things. That gives them a sense of feeling entitled to be like others in their generation so they get out their credit cards and go shopping or book a trip to some exotic location. There is a lot of peer pressure.

Another Millennial said it was about opportunity. This generation feels they should have the opportunity to do what they want to do. It’s not entitlement, it’s the way things are today. Because of technology, an entrepreneur of any age can start a company and become a huge success. They don’t feel it is limited to Millennials but since they are optimistic, fearless, and don’t yet have responsibilities like mortgages and families to support, they are taking advantage of the opportunity. That’s not entitlement.

And then there’s collaboration. This generation was taught to work in teams and to ask questions. When they get into a work environment and try it, they are criticized for asking too many questions and not respecting authority at work. They think they are respecting authority because they are going to people with authority to ask for their valued advice, as they were taught to do in school. When did the rules change and who informed them? Older people call them entitled and bold for thinking they can go straight to the most knowledgeable person in the organization to get the answer they need. It certainly saves them a lot of time asking the people who don’t know.

Entitlement really has a lot to do with your perspective and I’m sure I will have more to say about this subject.

Apr 292014

Many Generation Xers grew up as latchkey children, who came home from school to a house without a parent or adult supervision, and were responsible for entertaining and taking care of themselves. Their heavy dependence on video games and television sets resulted in Generation X’s characterization as resourceful and independent.

While growing up Generation Xers were aware of investigations that called into question many major organizations, including the U.S. presidency, military, organized religion, and corporations. As a result, Generation X was likely to have little confidence in institutions that had failed them in the past and instead placed more faith in themselves. After seeing many of the icons of this generation indicted and exposed in the media or tabloids, this generation felt they had few heroes. Divorce rates tripled during Generation Xers’ formative years. These events contributed to Generation Xer’s skepticism and distrust of organizational and personal relationships.

Many of the Millennials’ parents had smaller numbers of children and better earnings. As a result they were very committed to rearing these Millennial children. Parents of some Millennials had a tendency to become overly involved in their children’s jobs and personal activities. The way in which parents of Millennials hovered over their children resulted in the introduction of the term helicopter parents. Media reinforced the renewed interest in child nurturing with a return to family-friendly movies in the 1980s.

The Millennial generation has lived with technology from an early age. The most watched-over generation in our history, they respect the rules and accept authority, and are optimistic about the future. The Millennials are a group with worldwide impact because of the availability of technology and communications, and more freedom and access to move across borders and travel than prior generations. Large numbers of Millennials join organizations and volunteer for community service, showing a renewed interest in giving back to the community.  The impact of violent events like the Columbine High School shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and gang violence may have helped foster a return of valor and patriotism.

These differences in experiences give these two generational group different perspectives which often lead to conflict on how to handle situations in a work environment.

Mar 202014

I often hear about generational issues in the workplace and a lot of these issues relate to clashes between Generation X and Millennials. I tried to write about it and had difficulty because I had a lot to say so I decided to divide it into several parts. Here is the first one.

Generation X and Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have many things in common because they grew up in similar times as adjacent generational groups and yet they have many characteristics that are different due to different events that happened or changing trends when they were growing up. Together these similarities and differences can make it difficult for these two groups to get along. Some of these differences are significant factors to the success of their working relationships.

First, let’s look at their generational names. The name Generation X is believed to have come from Coupland’s novel “Generation X, which described Generation Xers as jaded young adults who decided they did not want to be part of the rat race established by the previous Baby Boomer generation. Generation X entered the workforce questioning authority, respecting knowledge over position, and ready to generate change.

The Millennial generation has a reputation for being open, self-assured, hopeful, well educated, and goal oriented. Millennials are interested in giving back to the community. Most of this generation prefers to be referred to as Millennials rather than their other popular name, Generation Y. The Baby Boomers who came before Generation X were certainly never called Generation W so why should the Generation after them be called Generation Y?

So what’s in a name? As most of us know, a lot.