Many of us acknowledge potential clashes between generations, as values and attitudes change, but the youth of today have experienced a fundamental shift due to their access to knowledge and information.
‘Millennials are the first generation that has not needed an authority figure to access information, and therefore, the dynamics of relationship to power have shifted’ says Esinoza and Ukleja, (2016) in their excellent book about Managing the Millennials: Wiley.
They argue that in order to successfully retain and develop youth talent, managers need to be able to adapt first because ultimately they are responsible for the performance, engagement and motivation of the workforce. They identify three key competencies that are vital for managing millennials: Firstly, Adaptability, where the manager can suspend their own biases and accept the different values and frame of reference that millennials bring to the workplace. Secondly, Communicating, by building a connection at a relational level and fully explaining tasks and consequences. Finally, Envisioning, helping to build connections between the employees’ personal goals and motivations with the organisational objectives. Millennials can be imaginative, autonomous and energetic or self-absorbed, defensive and indifferent. Which one turns up may have as much to do with the managerial style as with generational norms.
Where do you need to adapt your style to get the best out of your younger workers?
What do they need to know from you to perform at their best?
What really matters to them that you can leverage for performance?