I just finished reading “Managing the Millennials” by Chip Espinoza, Mike Ukleja, & Craig Rusch. In this book the authors identify some of the unique characteristics of this generation, which will soon be the largest in the country, and outline nine specific keys to effectively managing and leading this fascinating generation. I found this book fascinating and I think you will too! Here’s a synopsis taken right from the book, which I found very insightful and very helpful. I highly recommend it. Enjoy!
Millennials have a different set of attitudes, values, and beliefs than do the men and women who preceded them into the workplace. You have a choice: You can villainize them and say, “They just aren’t the way we used to be.” Or you can tolerate them and say, “We have no choice. We have to let them work here.” Or you can engage them, and benefit from the contribution they will make. The ultimate question is this: How are we going to manage differently?
We discovered that successful managers practiced a set of core competencies that are essential to effectively managing Millennial employees. The competencies fall within three behavioral categories: (1) adapting, (2) communicating, and (3) envisioning.
Adapting is the willingness to accept that a Millennial employee does not have the same experiences, values, or frame of reference that you had when you were the same age. We refer to this as suspending the bias of your own experience. Adapting successfully may require adjustments to your management style. In some cases, it may require changes to your organization’s policies and procedures. The adapting competencies are “Flexing with the Autonomous,” “Incenting the Entitled,” and “Cultivating the Imaginative.”
Communicating refers to the ability to make a connection at a relational level. It is the primary area where tension can escalate into emotional conflict. In the saddest cases, professional relationships deteriorated so much that we observed personal attacks. For the manager who is committed to succeeding despite relational tension, communicating is essential. It is about staying engaged even when both parties are frustrated. The communicating competencies are “Engaging the Self-Absorbed,” “Disarming the Defensive,” and “Self-Differentiating from the Abrasive.”
Envisioning is about lifting the horizons among the unmotivated and myopic. It incorporates management practices that create both meaning and accountability for the Millennial employee. Without the Adapting and Communicating skills, it is highly unlikely that envisioning can take place. The envisioning competencies are “Broadening the Myopic,”“Directing the Unfocused,” and “Motivating the Indifferent”.
Flexing with the Autonomous All things being equal, when there is a choice between getting your way and going their way, go their way. The idea that leaders and managers are going to change members of the current generation into what they want them to be is a strategy destined for failure. Only by flexing with the concerns of Millennials will today’s managerial leaders have opportunity to develop the trust and rapport required to lead them.
Incenting the Entitled It can be energizing, if not fun, to pull Millennials into the design aspect of incentive programs. It is one way to know that you are incenting the right way. The entitlement attitude can be successfully addressed in three ways: (1) creating incentives that Millennials value, (2) clearly and thoroughly stating expected outcomes, and (3) constructively assessing developmental progress on a regular basis.
Cultivating the Imaginative Millennials may not have a lot of experience, but sometimes that can work better for you when it comes to creativity. Realize that Millennials are going to get bored so be prepared with a new challenge. If you do not seriously want their input, do not ask for it. Let them know what you think about their ideas. Let them have fun. It serves an important function for allowing the imagination to work.
Engaging the Self-Absorbed The more often that Millennial employees perceived their managers to be interested in them and in their personal development, the harder they worked for their managers. First them, then you!
Disarming the Defensive Millennial employees’ defensiveness is tied to their desire to achieve. If you correct them in a condescending way, they will not hear you. They respond to managers who care enough to listen to them, attempt to understand them, and assure them of the relationship. Once you have had to confront, be sure to invite them to look forward to their growth by regularly recognizing their progress, providing them with support, giving them constructive feedback, and showing them that you want them to succeed.
Self-Differentiating from the Abrasive Understanding your presence and its impact is good for managing anybody, but is exponentially important when managing and leading Millennials. A self-differentiated person can distinguish between the anxiety- filled situation and who they are as a person. This allows them to become a “non-anxious” presence in the midst of the storm. Without this awareness, it is easy to take an anxious situation and infuse more anxiety into it, thus making it worse. Self-differentiation—knowing where you end and others begin—is a key tool in managing others, but more importantly, in managing yourself.
Broadening the Myopic The way to give Millennials the big picture is to engage in a learning process that is involving, presents complexity, and allows the learner to challenge institutional assumptions. By involving, we mean facilitation. The best managers intuitively know this and create orientations, provide training, and teach through learning activities. They see their role as key to their employees’ success.
Directing the Unfocused Millennials welcome high direction. Clear and repetitive instruction is important. If you sense that your direct report is anxious or distant, it may be because of a lack of clarity or understanding of what is required from her or him.
Motivating the Indifferent You have to help Millennials find a reason to care. They are the easiest of the workforce to motivate once you have helped them find meaning in what they do. You keep them motivated by letting them see how what they do matters. They thrive in an atmosphere of change—not because of change itself, but because they get to put their mark on the future.
We hope our book helps managers feel more competent, better equipped, and more relaxed so that they can enjoy their Millennials. We believe the nine competencies will help create environments in which both managers and Millennials will thrive. Just as we wish success to each individual and organization we work with, we wish it for you and your organization. For the Millennial generation we have a special wish—make our organizations better. They are the future. They are our future.
If you’re interested in reading the entire book? Purchase it here: http://amzn.to/2pTi1B2