One of the great struggles leaders face is creating urgency in their followers to strive towards organizational goals. A problem that becomes quickly compounded when those followers are millennials and new to their career field. They are dipping their feet into the waters of the “real world” and generally far more committed to finding a job rather than selecting one they’re fully invested in. This creates a unique set of challenges for the leader trying to build urgency in their team. Here are some suggested techniques to implement:
1. Be Chatty – have frequent, consistent conversation with your millennial team members. They have come up in an age and culture where communication never ceases, so become part of it. Utilize different mediums until you learn their patterns and preferences, and be sure to make your conversations about more than just work. Having open lines of communication will allow you to check in on their progress toward goal achievement frequently and will stimulate proactive conversation from them. Knowing they will be talking to you daily will naturally increase the urgency to achieve progress.
2. Be Sincere – show that you really care about your team members as individuals beyond the workplace. Millennials may never truly commit to the goals of the organization, but they will commit to their leader if they feel truly cared for. This type of personal connection is far stronger and will create both greater production and more satisfying relationships amongst your team. Loyalty to you will create urgency in them out of a desire to help make you successful.
3. Be Inclusive – give your team members a seat at the table as soon as possible. Involving people in real, meaningful decision making and goal setting instantly increases their buy in. Don’t ever dictate to millennials, it will only serve to widen the space in your relationship. Instead, educate them in the why and then let them formulate the how moving forward. Listen to their suggestions and help guide them onto the correct path. The level to which they’re included is directly correlated to their level of urgency.
4. Be Realistic – know that not everyone will come around. Urgency is something that certain personalities will never demonstrate, and you cannot change who people are. While that is okay, you have to determine how those individuals fit into your organization. Placing them in support roles rather than lead ones may be the most strategic solution. Spending time trying to instill urgency in folks who will never respond that way is counterproductive and will instead instill frustration in you.
Urgency is something needed in all organizations. A leader’s ability to foster it is crucial and valuable. While the above techniques have been proven successful with millennials, remember that all individuals are unique. Spend time learning the motivations and career-oriented desires of your team, and then experiment with how to leverage them. Urgency will build success, and through achievement, even more urgency over time.