By most definitions I’m not a millennial, but since I was an early adopter of their defining technologies, I share a lot of their characteristics. I have also worked alongside, and led millennials. It’s different from previous generations.
I can definitely appreciate the advice for leaders in Tony Morgan’s recent article, What To Stop (And Start) Doing When Leading Millennials. I’ve worked with those who ignore these cultural differences, and with those who navigate them masterfully. One experience was an exercise in frustration and constant conflict, and the other an exercise in creative and fruitful collaboration.
Morgan wants leaders to:
- Stop trying to uphold outdated policies and procedures that ultimately create a rigid work environment.
- Stop assuming that millennials don’t require affirmation.
- Stop micromanaging the daily tasks of young leaders.
- Stop giving millennials projects and responsibilities without clear expectations.
- Stop making approval processes difficult.
- Stop underestimating millennials.
- Stop isolating millennials with solo projects.
- Stop throwing millennials right into their tasks when they come on board.
- Stop assuming that millennials are developing as leaders on their own.
- Stop leading with no clear mission and vision.
It’s worth noting that (most) Millennials don’t fit the entitled label, and aren’t refusing to work with others or under authority. They simply work differently because their formative experiences have been so different from previous generations, and will work better when those differences are recognized and leveraged for good.
But enough with the negativity (stop this, stop that), read his article to see why this is so destructive, and what to start doing instead.