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3 More Myths About Managing Millennials

Maximize the Value of the Potential Contributions of Your Millennials


Diverse coworkers talk animatedly over a cubicle wall

Millennials Bring Strengths to the Workplace

Jack Hollingsworth / Getty Images

Want to attract and retain millennials, the newest, youngest generation at work? Employers who can bust the management myths about managing millennials will harness the skills and talents of a generation of employees who have a lot to contribute at work.

You can maximize your success with your millennials by separating the myths from the facts about managing this new generation at work. 75 million millennials were born between 1980 and 1999 and they are technology talented, eager to learn and contribute, and worth attracting and retaining.

But, myths about managing millennials abound. Let's look at three more myths with the help of *AmyK Hutchens (pictured), Founder and Intelligence Activist, AmyK International, Inc. Hutchens is a speaker, trainer and business strategist who has broadly studied millennials and recommends management tips about three millennial myths.

3 Millennial Myths and Management Tips

Millennials don't want to work hard to get ahead. Millennials may be unfocused and unsure about what they want for their careers in the future, but they will work hard in the current environment if managers will understand how to bring out their best. Hutchens suggests, "Despite the disparaging remarks on their shorter attention span, millennials can focus when they believe in what they are doing. It's important for leaders to recognize that this new generation is task-focused and not clock-punchers.

"They don't believe in face time but they do respect and strive for well utilized time so they can squeeze everything in. They don't want to waste precious moments pretending to be busy. Instead of measuring face-time, measure deliverables, and reward millennials with time-off when they meet and exceed your expectations."

Millennials can't lead. Hutchens says that the Center for Creative Leadership has predicted there are 7 critical skills leaders will need to be successful in the next ten years.

  • Leading people.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Managing change.
  • Inspiring commitment.
  • Resourcefulness.
  • Doing whatever it takes. Digitally.
  • Being a quick learner. Digitally.

Hutchens says, "Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers, while diverse in their own right, are often highly competent in the first three skills; Millennials are experts in the last three. When leaders create cross-generational teams, they leverage each generation's forte and break through barriers more quickly.

"While a Baby Boomer teaches Millennials how to make a well-reasoned, strategic decision (not a Millennials' strength) Millennials can share how electronic content management and interactive online branding opportunities through internet networks and apps can revolutionize internal efficiencies and external brand awareness (not a Baby Boomer's strength).

"Leaders must actively teach this new generation the skills necessary to be successful leaders of people, to think strategically and to adapt to and manage change. Millennials may be uncertain of the future, but they're very clear about seeking career advancement. Mentor, model, and provide learning opportunities that support their rise in the ranks. Provide specific leadership development opportunities inside and outside the workplace environment."

Millennials will only work like dogs if you pay them like royalty. Millennials place the most value on their time and seek to maximize a balance between work, social, and family activities. Employers who want to tap into their time considerations offer options such as flexible schedules, employee activities that involve families, and encourage friendships at work through shared meals, team building, and team projects.

Hutchens says, "Millennials will work hard so long as their efforts aren't wasted nor underappreciated. Yes, they need and want money for today's social expenses, but they will volunteer for worthy causes and go the extra mile if they feel valued, respected and appreciated for their contributions. Millennials claim the highest volunteer rates in recent history, but they didn't invent the 501c3 status.

"Every generation wants to make a difference and cause marketing is a great way to integrate the generations and build a lasting legacy. Millennials are also more likely to respond (and less likely to quit) if they know their work has meaning and is connected to a greater good.

"When today's executive leaders embrace these twenty-somethings who thrive on technology, social causes, teamwork, feedback and a personal life, they will attract and sustain this fiercely loyal generation."

Millennials are your future. Use the recommendations about these three management myths about millennials to attract and retain talent. Most managers are used to managing the Baby Boomers and the Gen-Xers. Learning about the millennials, what they value, and what they need at work, will fuel future success in your organization. You really can't - and don't want to - live without the millennials. And, you can lead them in such a way as to capitalize on their potential.

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