Transforming Millennials' Challenges into Opportunities

millennials in a meeting

It’s nothing new to hear about the challenges and frustrations many organizational leaders posit when it concerns their millennial workforce. With labels like the “trophy” generation, the millennial generation faces unique circumstances that some leaders struggle to manage. This situation impacts every company, large or small, that interacts with millennials either as employees or customers. As such, it is up to leadership to take the bull by the horns and transform challenges into opportunities.

There is much to be said about our millennials. They provide a myriad of skills and traits that come naturally to them, and this generation offers us a wealth of inherent talent. That also means that rather than resisting the situation, we ought to embrace and collaborate.

It’s Up to Leadership

When you consider the task at hand, it’s really no different than any other major internal, environmental, or political situation we all have faced in our experiences as leaders. The core similarity is that we all know how important it is to arm our company with a diverse skill set.

We realize that every generation possesses distinctive strengths. As leaders, it’s up to us to discover and capitalize on the contributions that millennials offer our companies. It might not be a bad idea to review leadership practices and seek to identify any antiquated systems, beliefs, or behaviors that might be contributing to the riff you experience with blending generations. 

It’s up to us as leaders, to teach millennials and transform challenges into opportunities.

Transforming Challenges into Opportunities

It’s time to shift our traditional mindsets. Just like any other challenge our businesses face, we the leaders must discover a solution. If we’re going to stay one step ahead of our competition, we need to take advantage of the innovative opportunities awaiting us. Where to start? The answer is to turn each challenge you face into an opportunity.

  1. Millennials are used to immediate results and instant gratification. Use this mindset to your advantage by providing consistent feedback. It appeals to their needs while satisfying our own at the same time.
  2. Show them that you are listening to them. Truly listen because when they know we are listening, they will be more open in return. Chances are they can probably offer a great tip or two along the way.
  3. Sometimes millennials are labeled as entitled. Use it to your advantage and give millennials what they need before they have a chance to ask for it. In turn, they might surprise you with releasing more innovative juices.
  4. Since longevity is less a priority for many millennials, incorporate leadership opportunities into their role. They might surprise you with a bit more loyalty than you otherwise expected.

As leaders, our job is to empower our people. It’s up to us to discover a win/win situation. Stay tuned for future articles in this series to learn more about how updating our leadership practices might be the key for capitalizing on the power that millennials bring to our workplace.



Written by Dr. Jennifer Beaman, faculty member in the Forbes School of Business & Technology™.

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