November 2013: Motivating Millennials

Motivating Millennials

This month for “In Case You Missed It” we discuss cross generational leadership. The funny thing is that each generation of Americans (and perhaps other countries too) often talk about how much harder they had it or how much harder they work(ed) – often looking down at “those darn kids” that represent the next generation of great performers and great leaders.


Interestingly, when I posted the first article below on facebook and LinkedIn the overwhelming response I got in comments sections – “Forget Millennials – That would motivate me!!”


Like many, I hate to be categorized or lumped in with a group even if I do share commonality or certain traits.  That is because I am an individual and want to be viewed and judged on my performance, my values and my contributions.  Motivation is an individual drive.  Therefore, while I enjoyed these articles and many people want to arm themselves with some generation specific knowledge of what makes younger workers tick – motivating is a person by person task.  A GREAT leader must know each person that works for them.  If you have 3 direct reports you need 3 motivation plans.  If you have 20 people reporting into you – you need 20 plans.   


Enjoy these articles because they do point out shared experiences and some cultural trends that have shaped different generations’ opinions and approaches to life and work – but do not assume these apply to someone you know based upon age alone.  30 people work for you?? You need 30 motivation plans. 


Lastly, please remember – Do leaders motivate people? The answer is “not really.”  Motivation must come from within each individual.  Leaders can inspire people, create conditions, and manage the environment in which motivation can occur.


7 Ways to Motivate Millennials (via Forbes)

1. Explain The Company Vision

2. Prioritize Community Service

3. Develop In-Between Steps And Titles

4. Give Encouragement And Regular Feedback

5. Offer More Flexibility

6. Provide Education And Professional Development

7. Give Them Time For Personal Projects


How to Lead the Millennial Generation (via Psychology Today)

“Part of successful leadership is adapting your leadership style or behaviors to address the qualities and needs of the followers.  The emerging group of workers – who most are calling the “Millennial Generation” – born between 1980 and 2000, are a different breed than the generation before them (Generation X) and the Baby Boomers before them.

Here are the ways in which Millennials differ from their predecessors:

  • They are Technologically Savvy.
  • They Play Well With Others. (Good in teams).
  • They Want the World (and They Want it Now). Millennials are hopeful, and cautiously optimistic.
  • They Want Recognition and to Be Taken Seriously.
  • They Want Employee-Centered and “Fun” Workplaces.


So, how do you manage and lead Millennials?

  • Take into account their needs.
  • They want their leaders to be heroes who have integrity, and a sense of fairness and concern for employees.


Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground

Shows that the primary values that people hold are basically the same across generations.

  • When considering generational differences, the Leader should give careful consideration to what motivates each individual and be cautious about group labels and “generalizations.”
  • Creating the organizational climate that best supports excellence and the accomplishment of the organization’s vision and mission requires Leaders to “know their people” and practice flexibility in leadership style.
  • These leadership practices are “cross-generational”


Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change (via Pew Research Center)

Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials — the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium — have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.


Why We Must Rethink How We Lead the Millennials (via Forbes)

“…I believe the role of leaders is changing to a less hierarchical style in a way that their job is mostly about orchestrating a management team rather than retaining leadership to him as an individual. You might think of it as a transition from a head coach that works from outside the court to a captain which is spearheading the team on the field.” 

“If this is true, then more senior leaders – both in title and in years, have to set aside much of their old style of leading and adopt more appropriate approaches for today and today’s generation of younger workers. Just as Generals “Fight the battles of their youth”, so do executives.”


20 Points on Leading Millennials (via Brad Lomenick)

1. Give them freedom with their schedule.

2. Provide them projects, not a career.

3. Create a family environment.

4. Cause is important.

5. Embrace social media.

6. They are more tech savvy than any other generation ever.

7. Lead each person uniquely.

8. Make authenticity and honesty the standard for your corporate culture.

9. Millennials are not as interested in “climbing the corporate ladder.”

10. Give them opportunities early with major responsibility.

11. All about the larger win, not the personal small gain.

12. Partnering and collaboration are important.

13. Not about working for a personality.

14. Deeply desire mentoring, learning and discipleship.

15. Coach them and encourage them.

16. Create opportunities for quality time- individually and corporately.

17. Hold them accountable.

18. They’ve been exposed to just about everything, so the sky is the limit in their minds.

19. Recognize their values, not just their strengths

20. Provide a system that creates stability.


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