OMG! Am I really becoming more like my parents? I remember them having all sorts of biases, prejudices and sometimes even intolerance with my generation. As a result, their perceptions didn’t always help their relationships with the people my age that they worked with. Frankly, they just didn’t understand. But they did adjust — thankfully!
So, who are the Millennials we hear so much about? Well there are multiple definitions. Think of them as somewhere between age 20 and 34; sometimes often referred to as “Generation Y.” As a stereotype, you might have heard somebody describe them as overly ambitious, lazy, too entitled and misunderstanding their “place” in the company.
There’s no question that in general, they really are different than the generations that came before them. The reality is, they’re the future! If you want to ensure sustainable success of your business — even long after you’ve retired years from now, then it’s critical to adapt. That means gaining insight into their similarities and differences, and then adjusting your management approach so that you’re developing future leaders that will eventually build on the company’s legacy.
Here are five things I’ve learned about adjusting to leading a team with Millennials. First, Millennials can and will multi-task multiple times faster than most of us ever could. That said, make sure you provide them the technology that you likely won’t totally understand, but that they require to be effective. Second, Millennials embrace frequent feedback. Remember, however, that this is the generation that if they don’t receive 20 Facebook likes, retweets and pins then it wasn’t valuable in the first place.
Third, Millennials are all about collaboration. For perspective, when we went to school we sat in our chairs, did our work and got our own grade. Millennials did much of their school work in teams.
Fourth, Millennials are often very socially aware and demand insight into the “greater purpose” of what they’re doing. Just understanding what needs to be done often isn’t enough. Fifth, they think about “work/life” balance — a lot. Their view of a workday doesn’t often fit the “8-5” view we grew up with. They’re attitude is “Tell me what needs to get done – and I’ll get it done!”
Want to learn more? Make sure you attend the session titled “Surviving The Future” at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 during the Midwest Roofing Contractor Association Convention in Columbus, Ohio. While you’re there, you can also meet a few Millennials yourself and hear their perspectives about the frustrations that “Millennial Myopia” can create during a 4 p.m. session hosted by the Young Contractors Council. Looking forward to a very spirited discussion. See you there!