'How to manage Millennial employees?' is a question being asked with extreme regularity by businesses everywhere. This is possibly due to the prevalence of the 'Millennial stereotype', over the last few years. A whole generation of people classified as privileged, lazy, needy and easily offended.

This same generation was raised to:

  • expect that serious obstacles in their path would be moved (without any real effort on their part)
  • their education would pave their way to important, well paying jobs straight out of university
  • their company or manager would care about their feelings
  • full inclusion of all peoples would be common across a majority of workplaces
  • they would be developed to fulfil their job roles
  • and many more positive statements regarding the purity of the workplace

Reality, therefore, is quite the shock for both earnest employee and manager. Neither party being sure how to navigate the difference of expectations.

Millennials are becoming Maverick Behaviourists in increasing numbers. Click To Tweet
Not quite Mavericks, not quite Conformists a hybrid whose expression depends on their behaviour and operating environment.

© The Maverick Continuum Journey™ - Judith Germain

The article 'Are Millennials the new Mavericks?' explores this theme further.

In the first instance it can be important to know where the Millennial is on their © Maverick Continuum Journey™. Are they nearer to the Conformist end or Maverick Behaviourist end?

However, in some respects this determination is moot. Successful leaders assume that there will be some expression of maverickism in their employee; and adjust their leadership accordingly.

The Maverick Paradox: The Secret power Behind Successful Leaders explains the different types of people in more detail.

How to manage your Millennial employee

How you manage your Millennial employee is similar to how you would manage your (Socialised) Maverick employee. This is because in the workplace they will be an overlap of maverick behaviours.

It is important to remember that for the Millennial Maverick Behaviourist, their maverickism is  cloak that they can take on or off. In terms of personality they may be more akin to a Conformist (unless they have been able to behave like a maverick for a long period of time).

This means that they will need more structure than a maverick, and very clear rules and guidance on how to achieve a task. If you want them to be fully creative, then they would need too be told that in this instance, there isn't any rules.

Millennials prefer consensus which may mean they need further development when put in positions of responsibility over tasks and people. Especially when the solution requires firm decision making that may be against the consensus. They should be encouraged to move away from the passive 'co-operation' on a task to the more active 'collaboration'.

Millennials are keen to achieve (not needy) despite their constant request for feedback. These requests should not be seen as a sign of insecurity. Their desire for equity for all, and fairness is not a sign of their 'snowflake' mentality.

These are a people that value, diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity. For real. Lip service to these ideals will not impress them They are likely to leave organisations that are not transparent with their values and operations.

To effectively manage your Millennial, from the perspective of a manager, you will need to follow the seven guiding principles below:

'How to manage your Millennial?', has almost become a rallying cry as Millennials make up 50% of the workplace. Organisations can no longer hope for compliance and ignore their demands.

As Millennials struggle for relevance amongst peers equally qualified, for scant opportunities, for pay that does not enable them to buy their first home - the hunt for meaning in their jobs become all important.

The concept of 'paying your dues', prior to real responsibility in the workplace is an alien concept for the Millennial. What they seek is to do something is meaningful and with impact. With the ability to really enjoy their 'off time'.

The Maverick Behaviourist will not disrupt (when unhappy) in the same way as a maverick will. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to fight hard to get things changed to their liking. Opting out and avoiding conflict is a strategy that they will more actively pursue.

I contest, however, that a disengaged, apathetic influential employee, can create havoc in the workplace, and destroy an organisation's reputation amongst important stakeholders.



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