When you become a manager or supervisor, one of your most important roles would be to become a coach.
Instead of just administrative or managerial tasks; you are now in charge of motivating and inspiring another employee. Coaching a millennial seems easy enough, until you realize that they are impulsive, impatient, and unruly.
Still, they are your company’s greatest assets. A millennial’s drive to succeed and win against all odds is exactly what your business needs in this overly competitive world.
But how can you steer them in the right direction?
Let these four core values be your guide.
1. True listening
They say true listening consists of 90 percent body language and 10 percent words. It requires the listener to observe what the other person is ‘not saying’.
That means paying attention to small details such as shoulder shrugs, head tilts, downcast eyes, and neck rubs.
Remember: millennials are proud. They want to appear strong and independent. So they won’t be so quick in admitting that they have a problem (especially when it comes to work).
For example, an employee apologizes for low performance for the previous month. Don’t just focus on words; listen to his body language. Does he look sad? Is his voice worried?
Maybe he’s having personal problems that he’s not telling. Paying attention to non-verbal cues is a priceless skill to have when dealing with any employee.
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” – Robert Baden-Powell
Don’t confuse sympathy with empathy. The latter is broader and more difficult to put into action. However, it is a necessary skill if you want to successfully relate to others.
For example, one of your employees may have trouble dealing with tasks because she is going through a divorce.
Don’t just offer a simple ‘I’m sorry to hear that…’ or ‘It’s going to be alright…’. If you want to be an empathetic coach, you need to put yourself in that person’s shoes to help her overcome her problem.
It’s more than just offering kind words. Sometimes, you need to wait a while before that person would open up to you, but take the initiative.
As coach, it is your responsibility to help employees deal positively with their fears and/or troubles. Listen, then come up with solutions together by seeing the situation through your millennial’s eyes.
Millennials want to feel that they are a part of something huge. However, you’re not yet sure whether you want to hand them that big project just yet.
Instead of throwing them into open waters, let them gradually swim into shallower parts first; with trust.
For example; if you don’t want them to spearhead a client’s website campaign, at least allow them to pitch in ideas.
Don’t constantly breathe down their necks, either. Relax, set a deadline, ask for progress, then provide feedback and/or rewards when results are met.
When you show that you trust them, millennials are more confident to bring out their best.
“The glue that holds all relationships together- including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy
One thing that turns off millennials is lack of freedom. They often hop from one job to another because they are looking for a great career that lets them live out their lives at the same time.
So don’t make them feel tied to their desks between 9 to 5. Instead, follow up that trust by being flexible.
How? Offer them choices.
If you have an active employee for example, direct that energy into a community-based project OR let her try a new skill.
Serve various activities.
Play up the routine by dishing out new duties from time to time. If your millennial wants to attend another function, compromise so she has time to finish all her tasks, without missing that important event.
It’s not easy handling millennials. I should know, I have an office full of them! They are unpredictable, often disorderly, and need frequent feedback.
But I cannot imagine a campaign without them. It’s their limitless energy, curiosity, and thirst for knowledge that keeps my company active.
So to keep all of us happy, I employ those four core values and insert a bit of fun every now and then.
At the end of the day, coaching a bunch of impatient millennials is not only rewarding, it’s an achievement in itself.