How to Lead Your Organization Against Stereotypes About Millennials
Do millennial myths exist in your organization?
When you think of the word “millennial” what comes to mind? For society, it’s often lazy, entitled or disloyal.
“Today, when you look at building a team, we all need to figure out what to do in this digital world,” she says. “That's the thing we're trying to figure out. We are not really trying to figure out generations in the workplace as much as we think—what we are trying to figure out is how Millennials, Generation Z and the all of the generations have been affected by the internet, social media and mobile.”
Watch the video to learn from Crystal about how leaders can combat these stereotypes within their own organization.
When you see a Millennial behavior, it's not too far to say that different generations will perceive that same behavior differently. We all have different backgrounds. We all have grown up differently. So, we have different values. We can perceive any of those behaviors differently.
So, when you see things like lazy, entitled, disloyal, that's a perception. And so in the workplace when you see it, it's also a perception. It's not necessarily the actual behavior that we're seeing. I think that generations get often get confused with age. So even for Boomers, for example, one of the biggest stereotypes or myths is that they're afraid that they cannot learn technology. A lot of that is neuroscience. As we get older it's a function of age, that our neural pathways start to become set and in order to learn something new, you have to continue to rebuild those neural pathways. It doesn't mean that you can't learn new technology or that you are unwilling to, which is often the stereotype.
So, similarly with Millennials there are things that are occurring that are really related to generation but are related to their life stage. Maybe they are either still single so they haven't settled down yet. Yes, we are marrying later so it that comes into play, and that can be considered a generational trait. So there's a lot of complexity in these behaviors and whether it's due to generation or age, it's never gonna be quite as simple as saying, "Oh, that's such a Millennial thing."
Here's the real kicker. Today, when you look at building a team, we all need to figure out what to do in this digital world. That's the thing we're trying to figure out. We are not really trying to figure out generations in the workplace as much as we think. What we are trying to figure out is how Millennials, Generation Z and the all of the generations have been affected by the internet and social media, by mobile. And a lot of times we say that we are having a hard time figuring out Millennials. But Millennials are just a reflection of this digital world. And we're having a hard time figuring out isn't digital.
And so, a lot of times we think of Millennials as a problem, when really they can be our biggest solution and in that place. Asking them, "Well, hey, what does this mean to you? Why do you behave in this way? What makes you think that this is a better approach? What makes you think that this is the right approach for you?" and learning from that and incorporating that into our best practices that we've had for generations.
I was sitting on a plane next to a father and his 4-year-old daughter. And he handed her the airline magazine to read and she was doing this to the cover because she cannot figure out how to turn the page. She'd always been in front of a tablet. So, if you are struggling with understanding Millennials, you're not gonna understand Gen Z because the internet and social media, it's not going away. So if we don't update our corporate workplaces and undergo this really difficult digital transformation, we are gonna be lagging.
So, in summary, the three best practices for leaders to adopt would be to, one, acknowledge the narrow, biased mindset that we have towards Millennials. Two, acknowledge the digital transformation as the real challenge. And then, three, start looking to Millennials as the solution and understanding their behavior with digital, intentionally starting to bring forward practices from previous generations and intentionally making changes based on what we're seeing with Millennials and Gen Z.
Crystal is a lauded speaker, author, thought leader, and consultant for Millennials and the modern workplace. As the founder of Invati Consulting, her expertise is in driving the connection between Millennial behavior and the design ...
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