22 Aug 2019

Leading Millennials? Be a Mentor

As a Generation X member, I remember reading the research about my generation written by the Boomers and chuckling about the bias I perceived in the work from the “old” people generalizing about my generation. Because of that experience, I know that Millennials are more loyal to mentors than managers. This is true because so are the older generations.

Mentor Instead of Manage

With my clients, I can encourage some tactics which I have found to be successful in leading Millennials. Ironically, they are some of the same tactics I have seen to be effective with Gen X, Y, Boomers, or any other label you want to throw on someone. One of the most effective approaches is to engage more as a mentor than manager.

What does that look like?

  • Emphasize Career Aspirations – Regularly discuss where the employees want to take their careers. Know these aspirations at the top of your head and use them to motivate and performance coach.
  • Sell Development – Use your knowledge of aspirations to explain how your assignments and their performance all feed into those meeting those aspirations. Do this with almost every project, assignment, and relationship you guide. Connect the dots for them on how today is preparing them for their future.
  • Coach for the Career – You will need to provide performance feedback. Make sure you frame the feedback so that they understand how your feedback helps them meet their long term goals; not just your requirements for the job. Almost always it does both. It’s up to you to set the tone of the discussion.

A mentor focus puts more of the attention on the growth and development of the employee. But when done skillfully, you can still hold people accountable for getting work done. The difference is that your conversations are framed toward the growth and development of your employee.  Invest your time to show them how what you need from them today will help them tomorrow.

Mentoring and Loyalty

A common frustration I hear is that Millennials will not remain loyal to an organization. My personal observation corroborates those stories. However, I have also observed Millennials are more loyal to mentors than managers. Your goal should be to become that mentor.

Get Started

The Growth Coach of Central Ohio works with organizations to grow capacity and maximize their existing resources to spur growth through programs like Strategic Manager and GC Insights. Call us to discuss how we can improve your organization’s leadership performance at 740 972-4110.

Millennial Mindset

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