Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, are probably the only generation growing up in the age where digital technology is the norm. With the oldest millennials are turning 37 while the youngest are 21 this year, this new generation of workers are gradually graduating from college and entering the workforce for the first time. What does this phenomenon imply to the future of leadership and employee management?
Some of the youngest millennials might still be on their senior year at school, while some others might have earned their degree and landed an entry-level job at their workplace. On the other hand, the oldest ones might have gone further in their career and achieved a managerial positions at their companies. According to some research, 83 percent of workers have seen millennials managing generation of workers older than them, namely baby boomers and Gen X’s in their office.
As more and more millennials are taking over the leadership baton, how should millennial leaders play their role in this mixed-culture workplace?
Understand employee’s characteristics
For most millennials, the most important things they seek for in their profession is passion and value. Rather than seeking monetary compensation, they prefer taking a job that can develop their passion and reflect their own values. Therefore, you have to understand these characteristics and find the best way to help them live their passion and values. You can do this by establishing an environment that gives employees opportunities to learn and grow, while finding their interests and what employees are enthusiastic about.
Adapt with the rapid digital evolution
One of the most prominent millennial characteristics is that they grow up with advanced technology and live in a world of instant gratification. They are used to instant communication, fast internet speed, open-minded perspective, and familiar with the evolution of technology and culture. All of these factors make them more willing and more driven to accept and create changes.
As a leader, you have a responsibility to understand how those changes affect the workplace. By harmonising all values between you as a leader and your employees, it could be your groundwork on making innovative changes that will make millennial workers more comfortable and fitted with the business. For example, you can adopt the modern way of communication to work more productively, such as using Slack or Microsoft Teams as these platforms can connect workers with each other, collaborate and share knowledge digitally.
Draw a line between employee and employer
Basically, millennials have a tendency to build friendship in the workplace, especially if you are in the same age and generation which makes it more challenging when you have to step into the leader or management role. Owing to this, you have to draw a line between you and your millennial subordinates to maintain a professional relationship. This will affect on how you treat each other at work and performance. You should also keep the distance between office and personal life so there is no blurred line between these matters.
Therefore, to gain respect, millennial leader should provide opportunities for millennial workers to let their innovative and creative insight shine, while working collaboratively with them instead of barking orders. When you become a millennial leader, the key is to balance every aspect to build a good relation with your millennial workers by putting every act in right place.
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