Being blessed with the opportunity to coach and guide several young non-profit executives over the last few years has given me great insights about the needs of millennials in the business environment. Recently, I have had the opportunity to start managing millennials who are themselves now managing others – a topic with precious few articles or guidance. As the best of this generation finds success and climbs the ladder, their leadership of our organizations and businesses will be the new paradigm. How do we help develop them in these roles so that they are consistently successful?
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. Mirror of Management – it’s not until they lead other millennials that they fully recognize the attributes (positive and negative) of their generation. This creates a great opportunity for self reflection and can be the needed catalyst for growth.
2. Faster Feedback – the need for the feedback loop to close quickly increases as millenials lead their peers. Observing and immediately providing honest feedback in a positive way is critical. They crave advancement and leadership, but still need steady affirmation.
3. Voice Validation – while quick to be vocal, most young leaders have not yet found their own voice. Helping them to lead from who they are, not from what they’ve seen or read, and giving that voice honest validation makes a huge difference.
4. Easy Empowerment – be willing to give authority away as much as possible. One of the most frequent complaints of young executives is that they don’t have much say in real decision making. Few things will gain their trust and loyalty more than handing them the keys. My executives know that in nearly all decisions they have 51% of the vote.
5. Constant Collaboration – millennials, more than any previous generation, need to feel valued and trusted. By collaborating at all times in your approach, you will create an environment where value and trust are at the forefront. More importantly, leadership through collaboration of them will teach them to lead and manage their teams in the same fashion.
It’s tough for any generation to fully understand those that come before or after it, however there is a real opportunity to embrace this next group of leaders and managers. They are going to change the way we communicate across the entire organization chart, and be a catalyst for significant growth. By helping to develop rather than bemoan them, we will ensure sustainable success for our organizations and our future.