When it comes to managing Millennials (those born in the mid-70s to the early 2000s) most Baby-Boomer and Gen X managers are stumped. It is most likely that your boss has a Millennial at home that calls them mom or dad. Your boss may feel like they “know” you and how you should be managed because after all, they’ve raised someone from the same generation. This is not the case.
It only takes a quick Google search of the words Millennial and engage to find hundreds of articles, studies and blogs right before your eyes. Unless you live under a rock, it’s common knowledge that 5 years from now, Millennials will make up roughly 75% of the world’s workforce. This statistic tends to make some Baby Boomers and Gen Xer’s want to cash in their 401-k’s and book the next flight to Key West. But for those of you who are still around, listen up! There’s only one option: Embrace us. Embrace our talents and unique ways of thinking.
So what now? What advice could a Millennial such as myself possibly give to my predecessors? Is it even possible that a generation born with a cell phone in hand can provide valuable advice to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers? Is it possible for a 47 year old Sr. Manager to have a genuine connection with a 24 year old Account Manager? The answer is simple: Absolutely! There’s no other option. In order for a true connection to form, there MUST be a willingness to embrace the unfamiliar and become vulnerable in ways we may have not had to before. That being said, here are a few ways to connect with your Millennial employees:
Make Room for Meaningful Relationships
The first factor that will engage Millennials in the workplace is as simple as it is essential: relationships. If you want your “twenty something” year old direct-report(s) to contribute in a substantial way, you must develop a connection with them.
“Let us into the conversation. If you don’t want to listen to what I have to say, I will find someone who will!”
Teach Cultural Discernment
Millennials need help learning how to apply their emotions and thoughts to today’s cultural realities in the workplace. Millennials need guidance on engaging with co-workers and leadership. Companies spend millions in marketing and branding in an effort to highlight diversity and culture in the workplace. But at the end of the day, if an employee does not feel directly impacted by those efforts, it is all a waste.
“If I feel valued and apart of the larger picture, then I will not only give 110%, I will tweet about it and tell all my friends how awesome of a place this is to work!”
Create Mentoring Opportunities
As a mentee myself, I have had the opportunity to champion stretch assignments and take on responsibilities that have stripped me from my comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory. By stepping out, and taking those chances, I was able to discover my own worth and take my career to the next level.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” Steven Spielberg
We want to be challenged. We thrive when we are challenged. Millenials are confident, individualistic, and love feeling accomplished. Sometimes we come off as arrogant and self-entitled (2 words that are tied to Millenials quite often) and this may make you feel “uncomfortable” around us. That’s okay. All we ask is for you to embrace those feelings and connect with us. Step out of your comfort zone and find out the REAL story behind who we are. Building a strong relationship with us, and making the effort to mentor, develop and teach is what it’s all about.
“We are your successors and even if it’s a blow to our egos to admit it, we DO NOT want to let you down!”
Book Review: Becoming an Effective Mentoring Leader: Proven Strategies for Building Excellence in Your Organization
Here at WICT SE we know that each of our members is looking to stay on top of all the latest topics. But as ladies constantly on the move in the Cable & Telecom industry we need instant gratification. Our WICT team has reached out to members to get their input on the books you need to add to your reading list. And even better than that, we are telling you where to find it and giving you our own review. Why rely on Amazon reviews alone? Get your book list from the ladies are in the trenches with you. We hope you enjoy!
Author: William Rothwell and Peter Chee
Amazon Rating: 4.5 Stars
WICT Rating: 5 Stars
This book explores the fundamentals of mentoring. According to co-authors William Rothwell and Peter Chee when done right, mentoring is good for the mentor, the mentee, and the mentee’s organization. This comprehensive guidebook is packed with essential information on all aspects of mentoring, featuring everything from fundamentals and case studies to actual worksheets and handouts you can use with employees.
Becoming an Effective Mentoring Leader: Proven Strategies for Building Excellence in Your Organization is a quick, insightful read and works well as a tool for expanding one’s knowledge on effective mentoring strategies and growing/improving their organizations current program.
Why should the WICT-SE audience consider reading this book?
The book starts off with a quote that I feel answers this question perfectly: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader”.
Becoming an Effective Mentoring Leader: Proven Strategies for Building Excellence in Your Organization is not only a “how-to” guide for current mentors, but also a development tool for those who are eager to grow professionally.
What are the main takeaways from the book?
- Going the “extra mile” as a mentor. Mentoring, when done properly is a lot of work. A mentor is not only an advisor, but also a teacher and at times, a sponsor. Before making the decision to become a mentor or continue being someone’s mentor, one must ask themselves a few questions:
- “What do you hope to gain in this mentor-mentee relationship?
- What knowledge, skills, abilities or personality traits must he or she have?
- In what ways can you help your mentee the most?
- What do you foresee as the major obstacles you will encounter in providing quality mentoring?
- The importance of laying a strong foundation for a successful mentorship. Developing a meaningful mentor-mentee relationship does not happen over night. It is imperative that a mentor has a strong sense of time management and affords themselves the time and frequency necessary to establish a bond between the mentee and themselves. Establishing a Connection, Boundaries and Goals are the pillars co-authors William Rothwell and Peter Chee suggest lead to a strong foundation for a successful mentorship.
How does this book enable the mission and/or core values of WICT-SE?
The mission of WICT is to develop women leaders. In order to achieve this goal, women leaders must be able to effectively mentor and steer the next generation of women leaders in our industry. This book helps you discover the importance of the mentor-mentee relationship and if not already engaged in a relationship as such, it provides tips and tools on how to discover your reason to engage in a mentor-mentee relationship.
by: Craig Newmark
A lot of times women don’t get the recognition they deserve in the tech industry. In the last few blog posts I’ve shared about really good women in tech, we asked folks to suggest women they thought really had their boots on the ground.
My team (which includes Justyn Hintze of Rad Campaign and Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign) and I researched your suggestions, and created a list of 6 women (or orgs run for women, by women) who are doing tech right. You should follow and support these women, if you’re able.
J. Kelly Hoey, @jkhoey, is a strategist, speaker, startup board member and angel investor focused on social/digital and the human motivations which fuel innovation. A connection-maker, networking strategist and expert community builder, Kelly is known for her leadership in building valuable professional networks, understanding the dynamics of engaged communities and the “how” of raising visibility, online and off.