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Leading Millennials, what you need to know.


May 7, 2021 / fbcadmin

David Leahy
Great People Inside - Australia

Leading Millennials

Leading Millennials, What you need to know.

As part of our Managing Millennials series David Leahy (Great People Inside) spoke about what you need to know to Lead Millennials effectively.

Generational labels exist and stereotypical traits are often associated with these various generations.

A lot of leaders express a real frustration at their Millennial workforces, as they associate this generation as disloyal, job-hoppers and that they have a dislike for hard work.

This article and our video from the Managing Millennials series is about helping people to lead better, by understanding that Millennials & Gen Z’s are not as different to other generations as they may seem.


What do Millennials and Gen Z’s want from their work?

The Harvard Business Review published a study of 20 different studies comprising 20,000 different people looking at 3 work-related criteria:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Organizational commitment
  • Person’s intent to leave

The findings showed the relationship between generational membership and work related outcomes were practically non-existent. Therefore, millennials are pretty much the same as every other generation.

Millennials and Gen Z’s Typical Needs are:

  • Growth opportunities
  • Great managers to report to
  • Jobs that are suited to their talents and interests
  • Inspirational leadership – they want people who will create a vision for the organization and a vision that aligns with their values


Deloitte conducted a pulse survey on millennials in the middle of COVID 2020 to understand if the pandemic had any significant impact on millennials and how they think about the things of interest to them.

The Findings – There was no change whatsoever. They just wanted businesses and governments to mirror a commitment to society where they put people ahead of profits and prioritising environmental sustainability, diversity, inclusion and income equality. The study went on to say the viewpoint of millennials will be critical to building a better normal and that job loyalty will increase once the businesses address the Millennials and Gen Z’s employees needs.

More millennials said they’d like to stay with their employers for at least 5 years than would prefer to leave within 2 years.


What motivates them? The key is to understanding their hard-wiring/behavioural traits.

There are 3 Key Leadership Building Blocks combined with behavioural insights and psychometric diagnostics which enhance leadership ability and skills by:

– Reducing frustration (with millennial employees)

– Increasing retention (reduce job hopping)

– Boosting productivity (how to get them to produce more and deliver more = more profitable)

Using today’s next-generation diagnostic instruments can be highly beneficial in approaching psychometric and behavioural analysis which provide objective data.

These tools are cost-effective and simple to understand and can be used in organisations of any size.


Looking at Leadership:

What is the difference between a Manager and a Leader?

  • “Manager” is a title.
  • “Leadership” is bestowed upon us.

Just because you’re a manager, doesn’t make you a leader. People observe leaders to assess their fairness, whether they are real and communicative.  Millennials in particular want to make sure that the people that are leading them are real and communicative.


Leadership Styles:

1. Laissez-faire – (Hands off management style)

  • Little or no feedback.
  • Don’t believe in micro-managing.
  • Don’t hold others to account.
  • No influence.

High performers enjoy feedback. They want great managers who are going to guide them and develop them.  They want to grow and develop and if they’re not getting feedback and achieving their goals, they won’t stay. Laissez-faire management style could be contributing to the apparent lack of loyalty that some managers may be observing in the Millennials.


2. Autocratic Leaders – (My way or the high way management style)

  • Highly directive.
  • Uses hierarchy as power.
  • Gives no control to staff.
  • Promotes blame excuses.

Autocratic leadership sets the tone for compliance. Employees tend to be compliant in the way they go about doing their job.  They’re less likely to put forward any suggestions for improvement because they feel that their ideas will not be implemented.

This spawns below the line behaviour.  This refers to the behaviours such as blame, excuses and denial which people experiencing an autocratic leader may revert to.


3. Collaborative Style Leaders – (Coaching management style)

  • Willing to listen.
  • Open to influence.
  • Encourage ownership & accountability.

These leaders take a more constructive approach to leadership.  They work alongside their people, co-create solutions and ideas.

The result – because people are more invested in that particular style, they tend to take more accountability for the outcomes.

Leadership styles are a continuum so no-one operates in one or the other style. However, in terms of managing and leading Millennials, the collaborative style is proven to be the most effective.


Building Blocks of Successful Leadership

As a result of the COVID pandemic, the world has seen the biggest forced migration of people out of offices and into their home workspaces. Therefore, there has never been a more critical time for great leadership.

Below are three different building blocks that you can integrate into your leadership style to help you manage and lead your Millennial teams.

1.Create a productive environment which:

  • Recognizes potential.
  • Rewards excellence
  • Encourages creative thinking.

It comes down to thinking of your people more in terms of their potential rather than in terms of their performance.

Adopt a “Coachable Moment” in the organisation. As a leader, you have a choice you either can provide somebody with the mentoring, defined as the benefit of your experience e.g. master and apprentice, or you can provide them with some coaching, defined as helping people to learn rather than teaching them.

Getting them to think of solutions and how to approach challenges.

2.Build an Appreciative Self

Focus on what’s right – not on what’s Not right.

Which involves more focus on what’s working and what you want more of, and less focus on what’s not working (what you want less of).

Helping staff solve their own problems. For a leader to build an appreciative self they shift the problem away from themselves and encourage the staff to come up with their own solutions.

3.Continue Learning

What makes your people tick? By understanding your employees and their hard wiring using objective data you can enhance your learning.

The objective tools from Great People Inside and other providers, help leaders understand more about the people as they:

Provide easy to understand information to assist with making decisions

Measure cognitive ability of employees, behavioural traits, occupational interests

This data, along with practical coaching and development suggestions help you manage and lead the people you’re tasked with leading.

COVID-19 has meant that more staff are required to work from home. This has lead to Psychologists at Great People Inside developing specific tools to help understand employees and the suitability of them working at home or not, plus what type of support is needed to help them adapt and work efficiently.

The 3 building blocks of successful leadership if implemented as part of your leadership skills lead to:

  • A greater understanding of your employees, thereby reducing the frustration you have with your people.
  • Higher retention of top performers because of the productive environment you create (feeding their need for growth and development)
  • A boost in productivity of your team because they will feel more engaged and energised by the inclusive working environment.

Leading millennials is likely no more different than leading other generations they want the same as everybody else. By adding objective data you will give yourself the edge.


You can find out more by watching our Managing Millennials Series on Free on Youtube:


Call us to find out more today!


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