Our ability to attract, train, manage, and retain the next generation of leaders is critical to the future success of our businesses. But how do we bridge the generation gap to truly understand and maximize those in younger generations — specifically, the millennials? Dan Negroni, author of the new Chasing Relevance, offers four actionable ideas to bust through cross-generational issues and start creating successful next generation leaders.
The shift is here. Millennials are taking over as the dominant group in the workforce and will be 75% of your employees in the next decade. Generation Y—often tagged as entitled, lazy and me-centric—will be leading your company before you know it. But don’t worry . . . you can do something and create strong, service-based millennial leaders!
There are ways you can tap into the inner leader hiding within millennials.
You can be a positive influence on your millennial workers and guide them to be next gen leaders. Here are some ways to shape the leaders of the future:
Work from the Inside Out
As Simon Sinek demonstrated in his book Start With Why, great leaders inspire others not because of what they do or how they do it, but because of why they do it. Millennials are very purpose oriented. They tweet their passions and write Facebook statuses about causes they care about.
As a manager or leader, communicate the importance of your why. Have your millennials write down their values, dreams, and passions. Have them identify causes that are important to them. This will allow you to compare your company’s mission alongside the personal why’s of your millennials. Aligning these two and finding common values is where the magic happens. Show them that leading from why is the best way to lead.
Mentor As If You Were a Coach
Everyone in your organization is unique and millennials are no different. In order to cultivate your millennials into kick ass leaders, you must respect their individual differences and use different coaching styles. No matter what their role is in the company, they all want to be valued and appreciated.
A football coach will analyze his players and put them in certain positions based on their strengths. He will recognize when to be direct with certain people and when to ease off with others. As a mentor, you should do the same. When you do actively do this, share this strategy with millennials. Explain to them, “I’m putting you on the design team because you have an incredible eye for detail and style.” This will give them insight into how a leader operates best—leading from their strengths.
What happens to you is because of you! How often do we see leaders own their mistakes? Not enough. The best leaders take personal responsibility for all their decisions and actions—the successes and mistakes. Be open and transparent with your millennials. Teach them to tell the truth and own their stuff. When you (the manager or leader in your company) admit your errors openly, you give millennials permission to do the same.
Communication is vital to be a strong leader. You must be vulnerable and transparent to communicate effectively. Lead by example and show millennials that taking responsibility for their actions and expressing their wins and losses is critical to being a great leader.
Embrace Giver Leadership
In his book Give and Take, Wharton professor Adam Grant revealed that out of three groups—givers, takers and matchers—givers are the most. Share this fact with your millennials so you can instill the importance of service-leadership. Show your millennials that they can deliver value where others need it by leading with their own gifts and talent. Being assertive and leading from strength is the best way to embrace giver leadership.
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Tap in and awaken their inner leader today so they can be the leaders of tomorrow!
Need help understanding, engaging, and retaining your millennial workforce? Dan Negroni — author, speaker, attorney, kick butt business consultant, coach, and proud dad of a few millennials — delivers actionable solutions. His empowering business approach at Launchbox creates quick value and seamless connections with millennials and management, each on their own terms, that leverages results from the inside out. Allow millennials to be your secret weapon and maximize your commitment to them to innovate, create a culture of engagement, and grow your businesses today. Learn more at Chasing Relevance, or call 858.314.9687 for a free coaching assessment.
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