Are Millennials the new Mavericks? I remember being interviewed a few times in the early 'noughties' about Generation Y. I stated then that Gen Y were starting to behave like Mavericks, without the influence to demand what Mavericks have.
Jump forward a decade and Gen Y has become known as Millennials; with the realisation that there are really two types of Millennials. Early Millennials which we used to call Gen Y, and late Millennials. There are some overlap in their behaviour but the two groups differ greatly in expectations and behaviours.
Millennials are now an immense influential group, they are soon to be the largest generational group in the workplace.
They can no longer be ignored.
So, are Millennials the new Mavericks? There will be individuals within this generational group who are Mavericks of course, however the vast majority will not be.
There will be a large proportion who are Maverick Behaviourists though. The environment that they have grown up and now cohabit, and their objectives for their life, demands it.
Why are a large proportion of Millennials Maverick Behaviourists?
Every new generation fights the old, however Millennials are refusing to conform to the norms of society, in a way that we haven't experienced before. Digital integration has enabled this generation to mobilise and influence differently.
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Maverick Behaviourists have a Conformist personality who behave like Socialised Mavericks in the workplace. In particular they demonstrate these traits:
- Eschew routine and bureaucracy
- Breaks rules to ensure that objectives are delivered
- Will cooperate with others, needs encouragement to collaborate
- Will use their large and engaged network to everyone's advantage
- Eager to learn new things and develop themselves further
Maverick Behaviourists have more successes than failures and are able to influence others. It is worth noting that Maverick Behaviourists are fragile. They can be discouraged from expressing their maverick traits. This will lead to a very disengaged worker. The Millennial worker when disengaged will drop to apathy very quickly, which is disastrous to the company.
Restrictive nurturing leads Millennials to Maverick behaviour
They will also engage their network to let them know how bad they believe they are being treated. This will effect your status as a good employer making it more expensive to recruit as well as your ability to sell your services. Millennials truly understand social media and know how to harness it.
Millennials have joined the workforce at a time when the economy has been most the challenged since the Great Depression. Corporate greed precipitated the fall and now banking and monopolistic institutions engender little trust. There is a lack of trust in government and companies also. Millennials are unsure of who to trust and what with. Their online privacy has become increasingly eroded and cyberbullying has increased. The digital utopia they were promised is fast becoming a nightmare.
They are not expecting to own their first home until they are in their 40s, there is no job for life or even career management. 3 in 10 Millennials have already clocked up 5 or more jobs in their career so far (Ben Chatfield, CEO and Co-Founder, Tempo).
Millennials exist in an uncertain world where they are saddled with debt and little assets. They need jobs that are fulfilling, has meaning and leaders that they can trust and who want to care for them (ie treat them well). They aren't receiving this and are blaming themselves for this lack.
This Generation and Gen Z that follows it, are now focusing on dealing with this uncertainty by standing for something. They want meaningful jobs, and companies that cares for ALL their stakeholders.
When they find something that they care about, they will switch to maverick behaviour to get it. These Conformists will not behave like Extreme Mavericks, however, mainly because at heart they are Conformists.
Millennials still need a lot of nurturing, even though Mavericks don't
There is a tragedy of sorts being played out here. Millennials may behave like Mavericks and employers (and other interested parties) may treat them like one. This can mean that they are given less direction and lots of autonomy before they are ready.
This can lead to failure and a loss of confidence from both parties - that neither may recover from easily.
What should you expect from Millennials in your organisation?
- They will care deeply about their own development
- They expect to be making an impact in your organisation from day 1
- They want meaningful roles
- They want mentoring and continual feedback so that they can grow
- They expect their employers to be ethical (Corporate Social Responsibility to be meaningful and sustainable)
- They want to collaborate with others, even if they are not employed by the organisation
- They want to use Social Media in the workplace
- They want the organisation to have values that are aligned with their own
- They want inspiring leaders that they can rely on
- If you deny them the ability to act on their maverick traits they will disengage quickly and become an apathetic employee
- They can totally surprise you with their maverick ideas
Are Millennials the new Mavericks? No, although they can certainly behave like on.
And that you should not ignore.