Those of us who grew up in what we now call the Boomer Generation have often been terribly suspicious of the next generation that some estimate to be even larger than our own: the Millennials. Who are these young people and how will life change when they’re fully in charge of our world?

Millennials, who will make up 75% of the world’s working population by 2025, were born between 1980 and 2000. And, while it’s always dangerous to generalize certain characteristics of such a massive group of people, there are clear indicators of how our young up-and-coming leaders think and behave in the workplace.  (If you know or work with Millennials, you’ll most likely agree with these observations.)

Millennials love to work in teams and want to make friends with the co-workers.

Most often, these young people have an invigorating ‘can-do’ attitude on the job.

Seeking new challenges is important to these young workers; boredom is anathema to them.

They are concerned about a balanced approach to life and work. Unlike many of us Boomers who have been labeled, workaholics, Millennials desire flexible work schedules to enjoy their life away from the office.

Several studies have predicted that, on average, Millennials will experience up to seven career changes during their life of work – not job changes; career changes!

When you consider these notions, it’s helpful to understand these young adults as the first fully connected generation ever. The majority of them have never not used the Internet. They came of age with cable TV. Many were handed a cell phone, iPad or a similar device as a babysitter. In effect, their brains have been re-wired to include technology as a routine ingredient of everyday living. Boomers have been called digital immigrants, but Millennials are digital natives.

So, how do we insure both a smooth transition of leadership to this excited and invigorated generation while at the same time, helping them grow and succeed in ways that God created for them? Here are a few important ideas that came from the radio program this week:

Provide structure through clear definition of expectations and job descriptions.

Millennials look up to our generation as mentors and leaders. Provide strong guidance and plenty of feedback on their efforts and progress.

Encourage their ‘can-do’ attitudes with challenging assignments that allow them fail safely and succeed greatly.

Listen to your Millennial (child, student, worker). They want us to value their ideas and opinions. And guess what? They’re tuned-in to their demographic in ways we aren’t.

Take advantage of their tech-savvy; they’re great at multi-tasking. So use those skills to your company’s advantage.

Spiritually, we know this about Millennials: many of them are desperate to know the truth. If we believe that God is Truth, then the best way to guide a new generation to Him is by allowing them to experience His Truth on their terms. We can trust the Holy Spirit to lead them to the Father, just as He did for us – but using technologies, culture, entertainment that speak directly to them in their language.

Our goal is to guide and encourage the next generation of leaders. And our vehicles for doing so are love, support and prayer.

This post was written by Norman Mintle, PHD.

Managing Millennials

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