A lot of people ask me this, and it’s not without reason. Much has been said about the entitlement and very different approach to work that Millennial have. But having said that, I think the main source of conflict is that word: “different”. A good first step in bridging the gap between older management and Millennials is to first accept that having differences isn’t automatically bad and in fact, is important to a thriving workplace. Here are three practical things I would encourage you to do:
1. Embrace diversity by focusing on each generation’s strengths. By taking the lead and encouraging younger people to appreciate their strengths and contributions, you create an environment where builidng each other up is the culture. If young people find themselves in a place where there is appreciation, they will be more likely to appreciate what the older generation brings to the table. If they are not able to see this despite having an enrouaging culture, you probably want to check if they’re the right type of person for your company.
2. Invest in training and development – To expect that young people will have everything required to succeed is unrealistic. This is why we need to prepare them and help them with training. I remember when I started out. There were days when I wasn’t sure about what to do. I’m grateful for the people who invested in me. I would not be here without them. I’ve made it a point to do the same for our younger team members and clients.
3. Harness technology – Young people are very tech-savvy, and while I wouldn’t consider myself naturally tech-savvy, I really had to force myself to learn, researching and asking for help, because I knew that if I didn’t learn the technology, I would miss out on key tools to engage and manage young people better. Besides, how would I be able to encourage them to keep learning, if I myself would not keep updating my understanding of technology simply because I found it a bit complex.
These are three simple and very practical ways to engage them. I hope these help you and that you find the same joy that I’ve found in developing young people.
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