Younger workers are often an enigma, especially the current crowd of millennial talent. While often stereotyped as being lazy and entitled, the fact remains younger workers simply have a different set of priorities and incentives versus, say, baby boomers.
As a result, those in a leadership position need to tread carefully when it comes to motivating such employees. Don’t think of trying to reach your millennial employees as a handicap to your business, but rather an opportunity to modernize and improve your leadership strategy as a whole.
So, what do you need to do to gain the loyalty and respect of your younger hires? Keep the following five tips in mind.
Make Your Rules and Expectations Crystal Clear
Leadership is impossible when everyone isn’t on the same page. Having a clear set of rules and expectations for your team is crucial regardless of age. This rings true for specific business practices to how your talent should behave within the office.
Checklists such as Tim Sykes’ rules penny stock traders must live by is a solid example of a concise, streamlined set of business principles to follow. You should outline a similar set of rules for your own team so they know what they understand the best practices of the company and how they’re expected to perform on a day-to-day basis. Doing so ultimately nips a ton of potential behavioral and performance problems in the bud.
Listen to Your Team
This might sound like a no-brainer, but bear in mind that younger talent truly value having a voice in the company’s that they work for. If they feel like nobody is listening, they’re more likely to jump ship.
Whether it’s in the form of meetings or email communication, always maintain a positive attitude and cultivate a company culture where people feel comfortable asking questions. Don’t do all of the talking and allow your team the opportunity to speak their minds whenever possible.
Lead by Example
If you’re going to talk the talk as a leader, you’re going to have to walk to walk. Despite popular belief, millennials are not inherently disrespectful: they just want leadership that’s in the trenches alongside them. Ask yourself: do your employees see you as a fellow team member or a slave-driver?
When you roll up your sleeves and spend time with your team, you immediately show that you value their hard work as well. In other words, don’t be a faceless leader that only shows up from time to time: spend time with your team in some way, shape or form on a daily basis whether in person or via email if necessary.
Make it a point to allow your workers more opportunities to work in teams versus being stuck in isolation. Nobody wants to be tasked with sitting alone in front of a cubicle all day, after all.
Team-based projects allow for more opportunities for feedback and collaboration, meaning that your team ultimately becomes more comfortable around each other. This represents a win-win situation as your workers prove to be more productive while also enjoying their jobs in the process.
On a final note, don’t be afraid to be yourself in terms of showing off your personality. If you come off as cold or calculating, your talent will be less likely to open up and perform for you. However, when you remind your workers that you’re human and you empathize with them, they’ll view you in a more positive light.
If you’re having trouble handling your younger talent, don’t lose hope. Keep these tips in mind to figure out how to appeal to millennial workers and improve your business’ culture in the process.