The Millennials Are Here! What now?
“I can’t deal with these young people!” an exasperated friend shared in a brief parking lot encounter.
“Millennials refuse to buy-into anything that is not their initiative”, fumed an executive who is engaged in a project with millennials.
“I was surprised at how few of the standard references and analogies had meaning for them” confessed a facilitator of a leadership workshop with Millennials.
The Millennials (born late 1980’s to late 1990’s) are here and in numbers. They are gradually becoming the largest percentage of the workforce as well as occupying positions of influence. Millennials are definitely here and cannot be ignored.
At the same time, even Generation X individuals who just preceded the Millennials seem to bristle in interaction with them.
One common theme is that the liberal philosophy, brashness and sense of entitlement that is often exhibited by Millennials flies in the face of the discipline, patience and struggle that is integral to the lives of those who have gone before. It smacks of disrespect and/or ignorance.
A Millennial Perspective
Prescribing for Millennials is tricky. Nevertheless, the following might make a positive difference:
Invest time in learning about the contributions and the failures of those who have prepared the platform from which you are launching your future. Being ignorant of your heritage is a major disadvantage.
You are frustrated with the OLD (fill in blanks). Instead of griping about it, give thoughtful consideration to improvements and/or replacements. You need not continue to live with the effects of FAILED (fill in blanks). When something is missing it’s your call to fill in.
A 50-year old tree can be uprooted in minutes. Tearing down is infinitely easier than engaging in the serious evaluation and planning that is required for purposeful renewal. Life is more than a campus debate to win arguments. Lives, including yours, will be impacted by your decisions or indecision and your action or inaction.
Straight out of university, I was buffeted by a middle-aged supervisor who did not have the benefit of tertiary education. I made a commitment to win her over. I humbled myself. “My degree does not mean that I think I know it all”. I viewed the caustic reprimands and stretch assignments as an opportunity to build character … and to win her over. I achieved both and thank her for the experience.
A Non-Millennial Perspective
Truth be told you could well have been guilty of driving your elders crazy. Every generation fears for the disaster that those that follow will visit upon the earth.
Yet, we have not regressed and may arguably have progressed.
The Millennials are here and they are not going anywhere soon. Get past your frustrations. Set about strategies that will result in positive and meaningful interaction with Millennials.
At some time in your career you were blessed by someone’s guidance. Take the time and patience to share some of your wisdom and life skills with the Millennial who is your greatest challenge. Make a commitment to enhance his/her development.
Exasperation only increases your frustration.
The organization installs new software. You don’t fuss about it in parking lots. You undergo the requisite training and maximize the benefits that are available through interacting with the new system.
Why not take the same approach to the Millennial issue?
It is a new phenomenon and many of us honestly do not know how to deal with it. HR practitioners and Training Managers need to be alert to this skills gap and seek solutions to fill it.
The alternative is even lower engagement levels, the frustration and loss of valued talent and a hostile work environment.
Training reduces the level of complaining.
Trevor E S Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify Coach Mentors and develop High Performing Teams. Hire Smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling for the January cohort of the Certified Behavioral Coach program