I LOVE MILLENIALS!!!…..there… I said it.
Seriously, I love them. I love their energy, creative minds, fresh perspectives, and a willingness to engage their communities and critical issues that are important to them. I work pretty much every day of my life with lots and lots of millennials. Because of that, and the good I see in them, please pardon my fatigue with some pretty harsh stereotypes and statements in my news feeds, about my twenty-something and early 30’s friends and colleagues.
You remember how stereotypes work, right? We have a few interactions with a certain age group, people group, or faith group, focus only on the negatives, then we see some snarky posts on social media, click “like”, or angry faces, and then saddle everyone in that group with the same tired, overused stereotypes. Not.cool. Perhaps we need to take a closer look.
According to an IBM study (2015), Carolyn Baird, global research leader at IBM’s Institute for Business Value, stated “The survey…didn’t find any support for the entitled, everybody-gets-a-trophy millennial mindset…Millennials list performance-based recognition and promotions as a priority at the same rate as baby boomers do, and they cite fairness, transparency and consistency as the top three attributes they want in a boss”. Hmm, I like those things too.
Now before you get your shorts in a bind, and regale me with another story of someone looking at their phone too much, I do realize that not all of my younger friends and colleagues are strong in every area. But guess what? They do have an incredible range of gifts, talents, strengths, perspectives, and ideas that I could stand to learn from. Yes, they have quite a bit to learn, and need to get better in some areas. But so do I.
Let me offer something for your consideration. Rather than grumbling about the “millenials” in your life or work team, how about offering to buy them a coffee, or even lunch and asking them about their goals, dreams, and passions? Find out what impact they would like to make in this world. I’ve had some incredible discussions with my beloved Millenials by doing just that. You may find, (as I have) that by investing some time, getting to know them, and sincerely listening, you could become a mentor, and give them a good reason to put their phones away and talk to you. Think about it.
In Part II of this discussion, I look at some of the shifts in the workforce, the generations working together with rising leaders and how we can leverage all of our strengths to work, and serve each other better.
IBM Institute for Business (2015). “Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths:The real story behind Millennials in the workplace” http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?subtype=XB&infotype=PM&appname=GBSE_GB_TI_USEN&htmlfid=GBE03637USEN&attachment=GBE03637USEN.PDF#loaded