Is It Time to Revise Your Leadership Style?

What we’ve been doing isn’t working—only 30% of employees are engaged at work, according to Gallup.

As of 2015, millennials are already the dominant generation in the U.S. workforce. And according to a recent Gallup report called “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” managers must change their leadership style when dealing with millennials.

To be successful, you need to learn what millennials need from their leader—and do your best to provide it:

Purpose. Millennials aren’t just after a paycheck—they want their careers to have meaning. Hold meetings with each team member to help them articulate their personal purpose statement. Then, help them see how it ties to your company’s larger purpose. During meetings, ask millennial employees to share how they contribute to your company’s mission and vision.

Growth. Millennials want to learn. Hold monthly development conversations with each team member in which you ask open-ended questions that lead them to reflect on their successes and challenges. Then, develop a plan to help them achieve their goals.

A coach, not a boss. This means letting millennials find their own way of doing things, and guiding them by asking open-ended questions that enable them to think things through on their own. Set clear expectations for the results you require, keep them up to date on priorities and then hold them accountable. 

Validation. Give millennial employees regular contact to provide coaching and show you care. The annual performance review should serve as a brief summary of many frequent prior discussions, not the sole point of contact.

Balance. Baby boomers left work at work, home at home. But who can truly divest themselves of the thoughts, feelings and emotions associated with the two major areas of our lives? Millennials know this approach isn’t effective—they want integration. Take time to get to know them personally.

Keith Baldwin is a Gallup-certified strengths coach and the author of “Light Your Fire: How Leveraging Strengths will Inspire You and Your Team Members Towards Skyrocketing Success!”

Glass Half Full

We’ve been brainwashed to focus on weaknesses. A much more effective approach with millennial team members is to teach them how to manage their weaknesses, but focus on what they’re good at.

Consider giving your younger employees a strengths assessment. Then, hold ongoing discussions with the whole team to help everyone learn how to leverage their own unique strengths. —K.B.