If you listen to cultural and workplace sound bytes, millennials are lazy, entitled, disloyal, and wimpy. They don’t work hard. They expect everything to be easy and handed to them on a silver platter. Go ahead, just search “Millennials are…” on Google, and the perception of millennials speaks for itself…
Really? What’s the big friggin deal? Are millennials that different from other generations in their youth? Almost 2,500 years ago, Socrates said the following:
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
The truth is millennials are the same as other younger generations from years past. They want to get stuff done, prove themselves and learn and grow! They want to be adults and meet their Big Dreams. Millennial leaders have learned differently. They’ve just grown up in the digital age and experienced their own set of life experiences that shape them as a generation.
As a Millennial Expert looking to bridge the generational divide in the workplace, I see a similar story among millennials. They want to get on with it and contribute…they just don’t know how to bridge Big Dreams with Big Business Realities. And that’s ok, because we can teach and guide them there.
As the ultimate millennial coach, you ask me how. Here’s how… be real: Big Dreams take Big Work.
They sometimes misunderstand that, the pace might not be as fast as swiping right for a date and along with dreaming big and pursuing enticing new tasks, there are boring, unsexy aspects of business that are fundamental and cannot be neglected.
As a millennial leader, how can you coach millennials to want, admire, and go after the “new and exciting,” but also take care of foundational work that is essential to running a business? Here are three things you can do to balance millennials’ Big Dreams with Big Business realities at your company or home.
Teach and Create a Strong Value System
The values that you live and uphold for yourself and at your company are essential to engaging millennials through thick and thin…both during the fancy and boring times and tasks. From the get-go, train your millennial leaders to understand the importance of working hard and learning what needs to get done first and foremost. Emphasize that fundamentals and groundwork precede being able to do fun, inspiring, and creative work. Do it by (i) telling stories and (ii) questioning what they really want and are about! Go long term with Big Dream Hunting
“Entrepreneurship is easy to dream about, but very hard to do.”
– U.S. News and World Report
Growing up with Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, millennials are used to 24/7 feedback and the ability to voice their opinion at the snap of their fingers. In a world of instant gratification, Simon Sinek explains to Millennials that “deep meaning and satisfaction can only be derived from patience and perseverance.” Take the opportunity to mentor your millennials about the prerequisites to satisfaction and success: hard work, consistently showing up, doing what needs to be done, mastering the fundamentals, etc.
Being relevant is a great way to demonstrate the values you want your millennial workers to adapt. Show them quotes and videos from their current heroes and role models. For example, this statement by comedian Kevin Hart, who is relevant to the millennial generation, embodies an important truth:
“Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.”
Teach Them How to Contribute and Grow
Almost two-thirds of millennials “strongly agree” that career advancement is important, according to The Millennial Influence Report by HUB. The report above shows that half of millennials expect to change jobs within the next six months, due in part to “a lack of career opportunity and interesting work.” While it’s great that millennials appreciate and strive for development, the problem many millennial coaches face is that their workers will job-hop if they don’t feel they are contributing.
Expert millennial coaches can solve the issue of millennial retention by being invested in the development and foundation of your millennials growth and success. Teach them how to contribute and be of value to the company. How? Make sure they know it’s not how you get paid what your worth but that you flip it to be worth what you’re paid.
Create opportunities where millennials have to take responsibility and can demonstrate their value on a micro level before taking on more significant roles on a macro level. By guiding your millennial workers while simultaneously giving them the chance to prove their skills, responsibility, and innovative abilities, they will experience growth and the fulfillment that comes from completing a job well done.
Give Them Tough Love. They Want It… and Need It
When your millennials do a great job and succeed, let them know! In the age of helicopter parenting, social media, and close parental involvement, millennials are accustomed to receiving feedback…and they appreciate it. Feedback is essential to being a great millennial leader. As a millennial coach, it’s up to you to keep millennials engaged and inspired. Text them and congratulate them in person for a job well done—let them know you care by showing you care.
However, the same must be true for when millennials mess up. When they experience a failure or make a mistake, you have an opportunity to make it a learning lesson. Don’t berate and condemn your millennials. Yet don’t baby them either.
In order for them to learn and grow, be firm and provide constructive criticism. Be strategic and balance both negative and positive feedback. This allows you to give tough love. Describe the problem or mistake specifically, and involve your millennial in being a part of the solution. Establish a follow up to ensure your millennial worker understands the lesson, and can learn from the experience. This is where the magic happens—growth, personal development, and contribution.
Millennials have big dreams and desires. As the Best Millennial coach, you can help teach and instill the right mindset and realities so millennials understand that it’s not glitz and glamour 24/7.
Be vulnerable people. Don’t just preach your company values. Live them. By demonstrating the values you want your millennials to adapt, they will understand that they can get the cake and trophy… but only after putting in the hard work and learning the fundamentals.
Teach them to show up, take responsibility, and provide ways for them to contribute and grow on a micro level. This will instill fulfillment, a feeling of belonging, and the desire to continue experiencing success on a macro level. Provide feedback—both through expressing appreciation and constructive criticism. Give it to your millennials straight. They will appreciate your tough love and transparency.
Are you finding it hard to engage and maintain your millennial workers? We can help with that! Check out some of our results-driven solutions that can help you build strong millennial leaders and retain top talent!