Leadership is on the ropes as a new breed of worker occupies a majority of the 2013 workplace. Those that continue to make this leadership mistake will receive an unexpected hook to the jaw.
I utilize the above chart all the time in my presentations because it depicts a fatal leadership flaw when leading Millennials.
The chart above is from a study done by Boston College's Center for Work & Family: Creating Tomorrow's Leaders: The Expanding Roles of Millennials in the Workplace by Lauren Stiller Rikleen (2011).
The 4 topics on the left (Y axis) depict the top 4 Millennial responses (shown in gray) when they were asked how they define career success. The red responses are those of non-Millennial managers who manage Millennials when they were asked how they think Millennials define career success.
The research reflects a significant difference between how Millennials define career success and how their non-Millennial managers define it. Most managers (48%) believe that Millennials are primarily focused on money to determine career success, whereas the majority of Millennials (30%) identified meaningful work as the most important factor defining career success.
The gaps are dangerously glaring ranging from 9%-21%! Left unaddressed and these gaps will drive your young talent right out of your organization.
Bottomline: Leaders tend to lead how they prefer to be lead rather than catering to their followers leadership preferences. Baby Boomers (who are a majority of the red responses) find their identity in their work and use their pay as an indicator of success. Which is why they erroneously place that same success indicator assumption on the Millennials they lead. Recipe for mutiny.
Knowing and understanding what makes Millennials different in the workplace is the secret to determining strategies and actions that can transform them into high-performing employees and the future leaders your organization needs.
How to close the gap?
- Open communication. Ask your young team how they prefer to be lead.
- Have an agile mindset. (More info here: The #1 Leadership Skill Of Successful Next Generation Leaders)
- Subscribe to this blog. Because how else would you be exposed to these issues and solutions? (3 cheers for shameless self promotion!)
Question: What other assumptions about Millennials are short changing your leadership?