Do you lead a team composed fully or partially with Millennials? If you’re like many of the Gen-X or Gen-Y or Baby Boomers you’re likely having a difficult time leading them.
In the last five years, a growing number of studies and surveys have highlighted the importance of innovation for the economic health of companies and countries. Perhaps the most significant survey related to innovation was conducted in 2011 by GE, which interviewed a thousand senior business executives in twelve countries. They found that “95% of respondents believe innovation is the main lever for a more competitive national economy and 88% of respondents believe innovation is the best way to create jobs in their country.”
Companies need innovators–individuals who are willing to take risks and who bring a spark of imagination and initiative to whatever they do. And millennials–because they have grown up as “digital natives” who use technologies to learn, connect, collaborate, and create on a daily basis–are a huge potential talent pool for companies. They are driven to create and to make a difference in the world more than any generation in history. However, many millennials are very adverse to working
for large corporations–and many companies, in turn, don’t know how to work with this generation. Ellen Kumata, who is managing director and partner at Cambria Consulting, works closely with senior executives in Fortune 100 companies. She says that big corporations are “really nervous about the Millennial Generation. They work differently–and are not as focused on individual achievement. They don’t want to ‘make it’ and see themselves in multiple jobs. The real question is will organisations be able to capture their strengths?”
Authority still matters for successful innovation, but it is not the authority that comes with a position or title. It is the authority that comes from having some expertise, but it also comes from the ability to listen well and empathetically, to ask good questions, to model good values, to help an individual more fully realise his or her talents—and to create a shared vision and collective accountability for its realisation. It is the authority that empowers teams
to discover better solutions to new problems. Perhaps the more important take-away from all the interviews is that whether you are a
parent, teacher, commanding officer, or employer, to enable individuals to become innovators, you must rethink the sources of your authority. The word “coach” describes this new kind of authority at its best. Innovators need excellent coaching at every age and stage.
When they are engaged through play, passion, and purpose, and when they have opportunities to collaborate and receive good coaching, millennials produce extraordinary results.
Much of how we engage our teams starts with the way in which recruit and assess potential candidates. Do you want a certain person or a certain skillset? Considering a different approach to finding the right candidate might get better results in the long run, especially when recruiting younger generations. How much do you actually get to know someone during an interview? At propeller team training we have first hand experience of how the UK armed forces assess their potential officers. They are not looking for the finished product, they are looking for someone trainable, that can adapt to the organisation and is there for the right reasons. Looking for the person and not the skillset may therefore prove beneficial when assessing candidates. For more information on how we can help you find the right person click here.