How To Be An Inspirational Leader In The Age Of The Millennial

They are everywhere, those enthusiastic, want to be the boss in 5 minutes and where’s my recognition, younger workers of today, known as millennials. This group of individuals, are well and truly in the workforce and starting to make an impact. It is projected that by 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the Australian workforce, so we had better adapt to get the best out of them.

For the other older generations, who see this group as being spoon fed on positive feedback, they can be hard to manage, let alone keeping them motivated and wanting to stay. Like anything that is different to the way we think or act, we can either adapt or die.

According to research from Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variance in their team’s engagement. So it’s how well the manager leads their team to how engaged the team actually is. And leading a team of millennials will be different to how others need to be lead. Further research from Gallup shows that only 15% of workers globally are engaged and just 23% say their managers provide meaningful feedback.

Engagement and feedback are certainly high on the list for millennials, so managers have to ensure they are working hard on improving their own skills in these two critical areas. Here are a four tips on how to manage the millennials to get the best out of them – you may actually find that these tips will work for most people across any generation!

1) An annual performance discussion is not going to cut it. Having been brought up with regular feedback (often daily), millennials will lose their motivation rapidly if they are not receiving regular feedback. This feedback doesn’t need to involve taking them off the floor for lengthy discussions, they want regular feedback on their current performance.

2) They don’t want a boss to tell them what to do they want a coach. Linked to Tip #1(above), millennials thrive much better on having a coach to help and guide them along the way. Coaches get to know their people and provide regular feedback to keep their team on track. Coaching challenges individuals to think for themselves and get involved in problem solving which is much more empowering for millennials.

3) Millennials want to feel as though they are improving and not stuck in a rut. This generation views work as an opportunity to grow, to learn new skills ready for the next challenge. This can be seen by older generations as wanting to be the boss in 5 minutes, but to me is such a great opportunity to delegate and challenge this younger generation to really step up.

4) They want a job that provides a purpose. This means work must have meaning, not simply a place to earn money. They are motivated more by a company with an inspiring vision and strong values that they resonate with. Understanding their own motivations is a great way to tap into what makes them tick and how you can work together for the same end goal.

Yes millennials may be a little more demanding and want more of our time as leaders, but shouldn’t we be doing this with every team member to get the best out of them and therefore, ultimately delivering an amazing customer service experience.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.