The Millennial Collaborator
When we are leaders of a team it is up to us to understand each individual and group, so that we can build better relationships and achieve stronger results. To do this we start with the following questions: What attributes define the members of the team? What are their interests? What is the best style of communication to use with them? Additionally, today, we have multidisciplinary teams and a diverstiy of personalities which has influenced teams to grow and perform at high levels.
One specific demographic that is rising in prominence, is the millennial. By 2025 it is projected that 75% of the labor market will be occupied by this generation, and that realization has begun to enter into the minds of marketers and business people. This is to be expected when considering that today ,young people between 22 and 32 years represent 23% of the world-wide population.
In our businesses, as we build teams, it is becoming a priority to be aware of and undestand this demographic. All those born between 1980 and 1995 are considered part of generation “Y”, better known as millennials, because they began to mature with the entrance of the new millennium.
Millennials are known as individuals who are constantly being updated on technology changes, care for the environment, and are decisive and persistent. They are also recognized as people who seek immediate satisfaction and recognition for their actions, are difficult to influence, higly adaptive, creative, are good negotiators, have an open mind, and are gifted with a thirst for learning.
In the work environment, millennials are typically seeking 3 things: to be aligned with the values of a company, to be challenged, and to create productive relationships with their collegues.
They are the generation that seeks leaders and not bosses. Their expectations regarding their supervisors, and we must pay attention here, is that they will help them grow. This includes both professional and personal growth, and they are happiest if their bosses become their mentor. They like to be included in decision making, to be fully engaged, and to know the purpose behind their work. They regularly question things with the intention of understanding the objective and being able to collaborate on the solution.
Millennials are focused on the end and not the way, therefore they look for flexibility in their schedules and work spaces, high levels of teamwork, and challenges that take them out of their comfort zone. Additionally, work is not everything to them, so they seek to have a good balance in life by dedicating time to their personal interests, as they simultaniously deliver the results that are expected of them at a professional level.
On the other hand, something that is not very positive, from the point of view of the organization, is that they are usually unstable in their jobs; constantly changing companies to seek out growth in an accelerated way.
By reflecting on the needs and attributes of millennials, we can prepose some solutions for managing them. Also keep in mind that this is a genaralization to act as a guide, since every individual is unique and will require their own specifically tuned management approach.
As leaders, the main challenge to overcome with this generation is: how to raise the engagement levels of my millennial workers, such that I retain their talent and help them to grow professionally?
The first step is to get to know them, their main characteristics, and interests. The next step is to identify what adjustments you must make in your leadership approach to manage your talent effectively, for example:
- Allow them to be wrong and when necessary give them the tools and empower them to implement the solution.
- Show interest in their personal life, such as their hobbies and seek ways to allow them to combine it with their work.
- Constantly set up new challenges and build the leader inside them.
Seasoned leaders will be faced with old habits that will be hard to change and adapt to this new generation. Further,the challenges that stem from applying old management styles to this new generation will increase as millennials gradually begin to represent a greater number in our work ranks. Remember that leadership is discipline, discipline is focus on action, and choosing the proper action leads to becoming an effecive leader with all the different members of our team.
By Julieta Hermosillo
Coach and Consultant