September 2, 2016 Leave a comment
When we think of great leaders we think of people who have leadership qualities like goal setting, inspiration, dedication, honesty, trustworthiness and so many other positive qualities. Millennials on the other hand are often described as lazy, entitled, selfish and many more negative… descriptions. However, when the right Millennial is hired for the right job these descriptions are not valid… especially when they are mentored by a great leader.
If you are a great leader it’s likely you learned it along the way from a combination of opportunities like:
- Trial & error.
- You had great mentors.
- You studied / read leadership books.
- You paid attention to good and bad examples of leadership.
Very few people are natural-born leaders. Lets not cast aside Millennials as hopeless. Instead, lets intentionally teach / mentor Millennials how to be great leaders.
When you have the right person in the right job, Millennials (like most people) are self-motivated and full of potential. So it’s up to their parents, professors, HR professionals and managers to make sure they are demonstrating the best leadership qualities for today’s ever-changing business market.
The challenge for them is to not learn poor leadership styles some of us have had to un-learn from that one really bad boss we once had. You know, the boss who had the Top-down / Carrot-Stick leadership style poplar post WWII when jobs were linear, repetitive and boring. The reality is that today most jobs are far from linear, repetitive and boring.
What are some of the lessons we have to make sure we are both
using – and teach Millennials how to be leaders?
Here is a list of 6 important lessons that will help teach Millennials how to be leaders.
1) Help Them Recognize Their Values And Their Importance
Most Millennials have wonderful values like compassion, charity/philanthropy, creativity, collaboration and achievement… and are not usually strong on values like conformity and tradition. Learning to recognize their strengths and values… and the strengths and values of others (and the organization), is critical to them being a great leader. Help your Millennials by teaching them the importance of values when making decisions and communicating.
When the time comes for your organization to review your mission, vision and values, let all of your employees contribute to your mission, vision and value statements. Demonstrate that great leaders make sure everyone have a respectful opportunity to contribute.
2) Be Their Mentor – Not Just Their Boss
The best leaders are effective because they know what they are best at and they lead with those skills. To create effective millennial leaders we must help them first understand their own gifts and talents. Help them identify what these skills are so they can use them to make informed decisions. Help them also see their gaps not as failures – but as opportunities to rely on (and develop), other people.
3) Be Authentic And Transparent
Authenticity and fairness come naturally to most Millennials. They grew up being encouraged to explore their individuality and to accept others for who they are no matter of their differences. As their leader, demonstrate that being authentic and transparent is important in their professional life.
Show Millennials that what they say and what they do matters and will be respected – especially in difficult times or during difficult conversations.
4) Be Trustworthy
Autonomy ranks very high on a Millennials list. Sure they love working in teams and are some of the best / least territorial collaborators… and yet, like most of us, Millennials love some independence. Trusting individuals to control their schedule is important. They will also enjoy when their collaboration team enjoys some project autonomy.
By trusting Millennials (and other generations), you deepen commitment by demonstrating your respect for them and their opinions / talents.
5) Be Confident… And Flexible
Being confident about goals and objectives is terrific – but being flexible is also advantageous. Great leaders know that other people’s ideas and experiences often bring an approach and creativity that wasn’t previously considered and may make the project even better. This also supports your plan to offer employees more autonomy.
6) Teach Millennials How To Listen
Millennials love to learn – so remind them they can’t learn while they’re talking… only when they’re listening. Great leaders understand how powerful listening is in building relationships and respect.
Teach your Millennials not just to listen, but to demonstrate they are listening and care about what they hear. Like any good news reporter, encourage them to ask powerful questions… and to listen to the response.
Millennials have the ability to become great leaders. We just need to teach them to recognize and lead from their innate strengths, communicate effectively, listen well and be transparent in what they do. Start today and lets awaken the leaders of tomorrow!
Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.
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