By 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials; in other words, a major force to be reckoned with. They expect their leaders to be inspiring, they want to feel involved and committed to meaningful projects. As a result, old management methods no longer work and it may well be that Millennials will drive a lasting change in the leadership practices of today’s and tomorrow’s companies.
Millennials in a nutshell
We are beginning to get a clearer picture of this generation, known as the Millennials or Generation Y (born between 1980 and 1995). This generation is “digital native” and particularly well equipped to apprehend the 4th industrial revolution. Millennials master their technology, are fast in their analysis, agile and versatile. They want to be the driving force for proposals and innovation.
A job for life is no longer the Holy Grail: on the contrary, they crave a wide range of experiences and different jobs to reconcile work, pleasure, and independence.
Millennials prefer to work in a collaborative way. They have a strong need for meaning and values, sources of inspiration that will enable them to surpass themselves and lead a life rich in experiences, curiosity, and passion. Personal fulfilment is a key factor in their commitment. And while they love challenges, they are above all looking for a balance between professional and private life. They are less interested than their elders in material possessions, paid holidays, pay rises, and promotions. A job for life is no longer the Holy Grail: on the contrary, they crave a wide range of experiences and different jobs to reconcile work, pleasure, and independence. More than 60% of them say they are ready to create their own business and have control over their own lives.
Change or face departures: a major challenge for companies
We can understand the craze generated by start-ups, incubators and other coworking spaces. We also see the need for companies to adapt and change in order to better retain millennial talents. They will want to evolve within a company that does all it can to develop its employees’ competencies, with adapted training and regular interactions; in short, they will want to be considered as involved partners.
Becoming a “leader-coach”
In order to obtain millennial employees’ commitment, top management leadership must move forward. Millennials seek empowerment. Therefore, top management needs to work toward a partnership based on trust and empathy, where the leader becomes more of a coach, or a mentor, than a commander or a visionary strategist. Here are a few interesting avenues to accompany Millennials (according to Forbes).
1. Encouraging benevolence
Empathy must be at the forefront of the relationship between the leaders and their teams. It is important to create a space in which one may admit vulnerability and talk about one’s concerns. In return, if they listen with an open mind, the leaders/coaches will discover what inspires and engages their Millennials. This critical step will create a relationship of trust and compassion conducive to healthy collaboration. In addition, Millennials will find ways to connect their passions to the work they do.
2. Embracing a new way of thinking
A Millennial, as mentioned above, does not react very well to orders without explanation. On the contrary, a joint search for a solution will be more productive and intellectually rewarding, while strengthening the relation between the leaders and their teams. Similarly, asking a question such as “What is the facet of the problem you haven’t explored yet” to complete an inventive marketing plan that lacks elements, rather than a ready-made answer, will create an atmosphere that encourages creativity.
3. Replacing feedback with dialogue
Millennials clamour for feedback, but the reality is that they need constant contact with their leader. Rather than give feedback that could be perceived as a reproof, their leader needs to reframe it positively, share his or her observations, and formulate clear requests that give meaning to the goal – just as a coach would.
These are the major assets a leader-coach may draw on to get the best out of Millennials.
Feature photo by CoWomen on Unsplash.