Dear Generation X, Baby Boomers, & the Greatest Generation...

Ashley Nowak

18 April 2015

Dear Generation X, Baby Boomers, & the Greatest Generation,

As part of the next generation of leaders, I would like to shed light onto how Millennials think, act, and follow.

Who We Are

The Millennial Generation is already in your life. You can find us in internship programs at workplace, at your local university, and in the place we are most known for being: social media. Social media and the internet have caused us to be raised with a strong appreciation for human connection. To the millennials, social media is a means to develop human connections as well as physical interactions. Although many critics believe social media is harming the quality of our relationships, we have experienced social media as an avenue for social interaction with a wider range of people.

How To Maximize Your Relationship With Millennials

If you are leading a group of Millennials, it is important to understand the best way to lead us—more specifically, what gives us the greatest motivation to do good work. Implementing the characteristics below and actions can help Millennials thrive:

Millennials thrive off of positive energy

We would much rather enjoy our coworkers than enjoy our job. For example, I had a job as a telemarketer at my university. The actual job included no element of fun whatsoever. But because I had such a great group of coworkers, I enjoyed going to work, which led to more positive conversations with potential donors and more money raised for the university. This organization, as well as other companies I have worked for found fun and innovative ways to create a positive work atmosphere. These activities can be anything from weekly Friday lunches out to office ping-pong competitions (Leadercast hosts an annual office ping-pong tournament in honor of March Madness!). In the long run, hiring a positive team that works well together will make the most difference.

Millennials enjoy bite-sized relevancy

As Millennials, we like quick, relevant information. We believe meetings should be useful—if something does not apply to us, you may find us working on something different until the subject does apply to us. There is even a trend of companies following a 30-minute meeting standard. The Millennial Generation does not need the whole background story, just the details pertinent to him/her and the purpose of the project.

Group work is second nature

While many generations have been raised to believe that the way to get something accomplished is by completing tasks, the Millennial Generation has been raised with an emphasis on the process of completing a task, with an innovative outcome. We have been raised with group work, discussions, and projects components in all of our classes. Although, if hired, we can complete a task given to us, we would prefer to brainstorm in groups, peer edit, and accomplish goals together.

Give millennials a purpose

If we do not understand the reason for a task, we will not perform to the best of our ability. It is helpful if you, as our employer, inspire a purpose and show how this task works toward that greater mission. Although many employees are used to simply doing what they are told, the Millennial generation has been raised with a certain preference for information and purpose. Even from a young age, we have always asked “why.”

In order to get the most out of your Millennial generation employee, clearly communicate the importance of their tasks. This will show that you understand your interdependent relationship and truly care about their purpose.

Although we all live in a similar society, generations think, act, and lead different than each other. It is important that we understand our differences to work better together and capitalize on our differences.

Now, it’s your turn:

How can you guide the millennials under your direction to be leaders worth following?

Ashley Nowak

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