Posts Tagged ‘managing gen y’
One of the main points I heavily emphasize in my Personal Branding workshops for employees and Managers, regardless of what generation they’re from or level they’re at in their career, is this: It isn’t possible to become a great leader without being an effective communicator. In fact, effective communication is a key component of success in the professional world, whether it is at the organizational, intra-group, inter-group, or interpersonal level.
And when I say “leader”, I’m referring to ANY level you’re at or role you’re in now. Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Gen X, and Boomers need to be in a “leadership mindset” at work and conduct themselves accordingly!
The best quality of an effective leader is the strategic way they communicate with other employees, translating key business goals into terms that help the latter identify ‘what’s in it for me, thus motivating them to align their actions toward the success of their organization. It’s part of a leader’s job responsibility to communicate effectively what the employees want and need to know.
Effective communication also includes a greater sense of contextual and situational awareness…which many people aren’t good at, and is why I believe companies need to provide more training on communication! That said, let’s look at some tips…
Communication Secrets of Effective Leaders
Great communicators believe in two-way communication. They understand that simply broadcasting their message won’t have the same effect as engaging in a meaningful conversation. They are good listeners while being astute in observations, possessing the ability to adapt their responses to the environment and situation without missing a beat.
Effective communicators are adept at transferring ideas and spreading their vision. Their words inspire action and align expectations, focusing more on contributing than receiving. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it pays off in the longer run. In fact, a leader that focuses more on leave-behind than the take-aways is more likely to learn deeper than they ever would by concentrating only on their agenda.
One of the best qualities of an effective leader is that they communicate with clarity, focusing on being simple and concise. Who would appreciate or understand your point of view if you remain complicated and confusing? After all, who has time to spare for trying to understand your complex language? Great leaders understand the value of clarity and brevity and know how to hit the point and cut to the chase. In order to be an effective leader, it is crucial to learn the importance of weeding out the superfluous in order to make yourself heard.
Focus on Inter-Personal Relationships
Great leaders reject the classic business theory that suggests them to stay at an arm’s length. They have a firm belief that only those prefer to stay away from others who want to remain in the dark. No great leader wishes to receive highly sanitized versions of the reality. They believe in developing meaningful relationships with employees in order to know what’s actually on their minds. A deeper understanding of each other is necessary for organizational success, and a good leader understands this well. Don’t let your ego be the roadblock to your relationship with other employees in the organization. Be candid and empathetic toward others to turn doubt into trust and earn greater respect.
Preparedness and Contingency Planning
The best leaders are always prepared for any kind of situation. They have a contingency plan in mind for any message that seems to evoke anger or criticism. In order to be a successful leader, it is important to learn how to justify your message with reason, business logic, and knowledge in order to make a lasting impact on the listeners. Remember, communication isn’t about you, your beliefs, your opinions, or your circumstances. In fact, it’s more about understanding others concerns, and fulfilling their needs. This will help you show your empathetic side and add value to their world.
In closing, DON”T be the type of leader that you wouldn’t want to work for. And you can prevent that by working on HOW you communicate with people, both verbally and visually!
I, along with other experts, have written a lot about Millennials (aka: Gen Y) “as employees” to help employers better understand what makes this unique generation tick. And for any of you that are interested in info along those lines, you can get detailed tips on how to recruit, manage, motivate and retain Millennial employees in my first book, Millennials Incorporated, on Amazon.
But the focus of this post is to shed some light on who Millennials are “as consumers”. Did you know that by 2017 the Millennial Generation will have more spending power than any other generation? So if you own a company with products or services that appeal to Millennials, or if you’re responsible for the marketing, branding and sales efforts at your company, keep reading.
There’s a great White Paper that was created by BazaarVoice, a leading network that connects brands and retailers to the authentic voices of people where they shop. It’s loaded with terrific data you need to be aware of and answers questions such as:
1. How do Millennials “buy”?
2. How and where do they like to get their info when researching a product or service to purchase?
3. How different are they as consumers from Boomers?
4. How do they like to engage with brands?
5. What appeals to them as consumers…and what turns them off?
If you’re interested in knowing the answers to these questions, along with many other important insights, I strongly recommend downloading their free White Paper, “Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands”.
There are a variety of reasons I chose this topic to write about today, but one recent conversation with a good friend was the thing that got me motivated to actually do it.
She was telling me how she and her 23-year old Millennial (aka: Gen Y) son, who recently graduated from college, went mattress shopping for his new apartment. During their outing together, she was chatting up a storm with everyone; the salespeople, other customers, etc.
After a while, her son finally said, “Mom, what is it with your generation? You guys talk to everyone, all the time!”
He then continued to say that he wasn’t comfortable doing that and that most people he knew, in his generation, felt the same way. However, during their 3-hour mattress-shopping afternoon together, she told me that he hardly ever stopped texting back and forth with his friends. So, “communication” isn’t the issue; “how” they are comfortable doing it is.
Anyway, after his comment, at the very next store she made an effort to hardly say a word and decided to let him handle the interaction with the 40-something sales associate. It only took about 4 minutes for her son to ask her to talk to the salesperson because he didn’t want to anymore. Rather, he was more comfortable watching his Baby Boomer mom do all the talking.
I’ve seen this “not talking much” dynamic occur in many of the workshops I conduct for Millennial employees in corporations. That is also one reason I dedicate a chapter to “communicating like a leader” in my popular book for Millennial employees, “Millennials into Leadership”. My Millennial audiences are always totally engaged, but just aren’t comfortable making comments or asking questions, even when I ask them to. However, they come up to me one-on-one afterwards, or send me emails afterwards, with questions or comments. THAT is totally different from when I conduct workshops or seminars with “older” generations in the audience (i.e. Gen X and Boomers). I typically have to monitor how much time they take up talking!
Plus, I get tons of Millennials at my leadership training workshops that openly admit they just aren’t comfortable speaking with strangers, or even work colleagues, face-to-face. AND, I hear this complaint from many of their Managers. They get very frustrated with the fact their Millennial employees don’t participate much in meetings. However, they find it odd that those same Millennials are totally okay telling them about what they did over the weekend, in lengthy detail, EVERY Monday morning.
And I have to explain that most Millennials like, and need, close ties to their bosses, and sharing their personal life is one way they try to build that “bond”. Unfortunately, that’s something that most supervisors in the workforce, 35+ years old, find very irritating.
Hence just ONE of the reasons the multi-generational workforce challenges continue…and that’s what keeps getting me booked for speaking engagements at well-known companies across the country!
The bottom line to all of this is: Most Millennials grew-up communicating electronically with their peers and that is their comfort zone. However, as I explain to them, they need to work on getting out of that online comfort zone and work at being more comfortable with in-person social settings. It is critical to their career success and relationship building professionally.
My advice to all you Millennials is to take it slow and “practice”. Go to professional networking events, at work and outside of work, or if you’re job searching, and force yourself to meet as many people as you can each time. Trust me! It gets much easier the more you do it!
Also, to get you started, follow these great tips for networking successfully at events offered by David Spinks, who wrote this article for BrazenCareerist.com, an info-packed blog site for young professionals, entitled, “13 Tips for Your First Networking Event”.
Now get out there, turn off your mobile devices, and build some new relationships by communicating the old fashioned way…in-person! Your “career” will thank you!
Bye for now,
Okay…so for over 5 years companies have been hiring me to conduct presentations about how to manage, recruit and retain Millennials (aka: Generation Y). And, as an expert, they also hire me to conduct training workshops for Millennial employees that cover leadership, business etiquette, generations at work, communication and personal branding for career success. BUT, according to an article I came across yesterday, it looks like I might see an uptick of even more Fortune 500 companies contacting me.
Why? Well, according to the article entitled, “Gen Y Traits in the Workplace Unveiled” by Kristin Burnham, she shares:
Millennial Branding together with Identified.com, studied 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles to obtain better insight into how members of this generation operate professionally-a topic of increasing importance as they are projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
According to the study, only 7 percent of Gen Y reports working for a Fortune 500 company-a statistic in line with another report that predicts that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 will no longer exist 10 years from now.
So, where are they going to work? The article states:
Instead, Gen Y workers are turning to startups in which the hiring process tends to be much quicker than that of the Fortune 500, and where Dan Schawbel says Gen Yers feel they can make more of an immediate impact.
While Gen Yers are turning more to startups for employment, they’re also branching out on their own in what Schawbel calls an “unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit.” “Owner” is the fifth most-popular job title, trumped by “server” (No. 1), “manager” (No. 2), “intern” (No. 3) and “sales associate (No. 4).
Retention is also a challenge with Gen Y because according to the report, they only average 2 years at their first job.
These are serious statistics and facts that large companies need to be aware of. If 75% of our workforce is going to made up of Millennials by 2025 (that’s only about 10 years away!!) companies need to start preparing NOW for a solid recruitment and retention plan of talent. I’ve been preaching this for a long time and the smart companies are already doing everything they can to retain their younger talent because they know their companies’ future well being NEEDS younger talent now, and they need to groom them for future leadership positions.
On average, 1 Boomer is retiring every 8 seconds, so companies are also scrambling to retain their employees who are 55+, too. NOT every Boomer was affected by the economic downturn so we have millions of them who CAN retire comfortably at 60-65 years old but companies need their expertise and knowledge to help the younger employees grow.
I’ve written TONS of articles, and have been interviewed by countless media, about these topics because it’s ALL true. But I also find many companies still have their head in the sand and suffer from denial. I have endless research material on the labor shortage the US is facing, and it’s based on the perfect storm of birth rates, Boomers retiring, etc. The numbers don’t lie, people!
Sure, because of the current economy it’s still an “employers” market…however I’ve been warning executives in my seminars that it will change soon, and the competition for talent is going to re-ignite and then it will turn into an “employee” market again and employers will be begging for top talent…and employees will be in control of the whole enchilada.
EMPLOYERS: Start planning NOW and get ahead of the curve…and if you’re a Fortune 500 company, as many of my clients are, YOU really need to take all of this seriously!
Bye for now,