Coaching Article – The Behavioral Differences in Millennials—Does it Exist?

Have you heard that the global workforce is doomed because of the growing influx of inexperienced Millennials? They’re labeled as entitled, lack commitment and drive, impatient, and don’t respond well to authority. And these related statistics further add concern that a decline in honorable leadership is at stake:

  • Of the 100 million people currently in the American workforce, Millennials grew to 40% of the workforce at the end of 2020.*
  • In 2016, 1/3 of new managers are Millennials. But Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day for the next 12 years. **
  • 66% said they would leave their employer at the end of 2020.***
  • 63% say their leadership skills are not being fully developed, yet they’re hungry for development. ***

Surprising Strengths  

Before we doom our society to non-existence though, the strengths of this generation are clear—they are:

  • Open to Change and Diversity
  • Team-Oriented—like Collaboration
  • Confident and Enthusiastic
  • Hard-working (if they feel valued)
  • Tech-Savvy
  • Ambitious and Achievement-Oriented

How can current leaders create new leadership tactics to mine and refine this Millennial gold? But wait, this is the key point.

A Plan for All Leaders

“Millennial leaders are not so different. While they may have their own cultural uniqueness, they want the same things that all generations want.” [Tweet This]

They want:

  • To be heard
  • To be validated and appreciated
  • To get more feedback and recognition
  • To enjoy working in a collaborative manner
  • To have more flexibility and choice
  • To have more training and development

Besides the generational nuances of Millennials, we believe that understanding the behavioral differences in individuals is a more important leadership skill set. Behavioral differences can be a team’s greatest asset or detriment, so we train teams of all ages every day using assessment tools like Leadership Behavior DNA to help leaders manage these differences.

Leaders Developing Leaders  

Recently at a keynote presentation event at the U.S. Air Force Academy, most of my time there was spent with young cadets (which I love). They were my escorts, meal companions, and my primary audiences during the event. The academy’s focus on cadet leadership development came through clearly to me. Cadet squadrons have been using my book, Leading with Honor, as part of the leadership and team development, and they’re led by cadets!

While the current leadership model looks like this diagram:

In this diagram, the leader leads and facilitates all interaction in the team.


The Academy has also embraced the critical importance of emerging leadership development by allowing others in the group to lead as shown below:

In this diagram, other team members are given the opportunity to lead the team.

The Focus for Leaders

Want to effectively lead all generations including Millennials? If you focus daily on these three areas, you will increase productivity, employee engagement, and customer engagement:

  1. Choose Character First. To have credibility with your team or organization, choose to do the right thing regardless of the situation.
  2. Be Mission-Focused. All organizations want results, and teams want to succeed if they’re given clear goals and objectives.
  3. Take Care of Your People. While working on getting results, you must connect and collaborate with your people personally and professionally. Connect with the heart, and connect with their natural talents and behavior.

What has been your experience with training and leading Millennials? Please share your thoughts below.

LE [Tweet This Article]

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Grounded in statistical research and supported by data from millions of clients and more than 45 years of workplace experience, Lee Ellis and Hugh Massie reveal their personal stories and experience on how they’ve successfully helped organizations achieve their goals by applying practical insights on human design.

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*Deloitte  University Press, Oct 2015 Research Paper

** State of the American Worker

***Deloitte  University Press, Oct 2015 Research Paper




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