How to Lead Millennials

The Best Way
to Motivate
and Lead Millennials

Do you have Millennial employees? Then you should know two things:

Only 29% of them are engaged at work.

And 87% of Millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important to them in a job.

Gallup published these two critical findings in their report How Millennials Want to Work and Live, which provides an in-depth look at what defines the Millennial generation as employees, people, and consumers.

Millennials struggle to find good jobs that engage them, and they have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in the U.S. And yet, Millennials are a largely optimistic group. They believe that life and work should be worthwhile and have meaning. They want to learn and grow.

Given that most Millennials value professional development and career growth, you’re probably wondering why so many organizations fail to engage these employees. Over the years, I’ve spoken with senior leaders and managers who have expressed frustration in their attempts to maximize the performance of their youngest employees. My advice is always the same: Don’t try to manage Millennials in an attempt to motivate them. Instead, coach to develop them.

Here’s a few proven reasons why coaching works:

Taps into their desire to grow and develop.

The rap on Millennials is that traditional management techniques don’t work well on them at all. Let’s be honest though: No one really likes to be managed.

On the other hand, coaching is all about helping people grow and develop, something especially appreciated by younger workers. Coaching is an effective tool for all generations, yet it’s a particularly suitable leadership style for maximizing the performance of Millennial employees.

Empowers Millennials to find their own solution.

Imagine that, when faced with an interesting problem, you’re told exactly what to do to solve it and how to do it. Now imagine that you’re coached to finding your own solution to the problem. Which scenario feels more empowering? (I’m guessing it’s the coaching one.)

No one wants to be micromanaged, and that’s especially true for Millennials. The coaching approach to leadership assumes that the best solution is the one that an employee comes up with themselves, because it’s the solution that they will really own. When you empower Millennial employees and encourage their entrepreneurial spirits to finding solutions, you’ll find they can be quite resourceful.

Encourages innovation, creativity, and teamwork.

Younger workers have a lot of creativity to tap. Their comfort with change, innovation, and technology can be quite an asset—if developed under the caring encouragement of a boss who coaches them.

Using coaching methods to develop and manage your team can be exponentially rewarding. A team of inspired Millennials working together toward a goal they are mutually passionate about can generate surprising and impressive results. Coaching also leads to accountability and ownership of the work done in the name of creativity and innovation.

Connects Millennials to what they care about.

No matter which generation they’re part of, young people have always been known for their idealism. Millennials express that idealism as a desire meaningful work. I firmly believe coaching is the ideal solution to providing Millennials with work that has meaning.

Through coaching you can help them find solutions for day-to-day issues, resolve workplace conflicts, or plot out their long-term goals. It’s the easiest way to connect your team with what they find important. Coaching always begins with identifying what success looks like to that person, including details like the benefits they will enjoy when their solution is in place.

Coaching as a leadership strategy.

As a cohort, Millennials yearn for to be coached. They want their particular values, strengths, and desires tied to their professional goals—and that’s exactly what coaching does. Leaders everywhere are using coaching as a leadership strategy to better motivate, develop, and lead their Millennial employees. Given that Millennials are the largest group in the workforce, the skill of coaching is more important than ever.

Want to share your thoughts on leading Millennials? Let’s talk! Give us a call at (859) 415-1000 or drop us a line in the form at the bottom of this page, and we’ll connect you with Tom.

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