Ah, millennials. Often misconstrued and misunderstood, millennials have always been under tremendous scrutiny, mostly being on the receiving end of criticisms concerning their workplace habits and professional decisions. Their career choices most likely have been frowned upon by their older peers, creating a wider generation gap that can become a great hurdle for a company trying to reach the top.
Millennials, whether one likes it or not, will eventually become bosses or managers in the future. Older generations may have a difficult time swallowing this inevitable pill, but adapting and improving relationships are two small steps that one can take in order to ease the tension.
How exactly can you tap into the minds of these bright yet often misjudged millennials in order for them to unleash their true potential? Is motivation even possible around such youthful energy? The answer is—yes, and here are a few things you can do in order to slowly (but surely!) engage and motivate your millennial:
- Validate their existence and good work: Millennials crave validation (fellow millennials, if you are reading this, there is no point in denying this as we all know that this is true) no matter what form it takes. Be it a simple feedback on good work they did, or recognizing their contributions in the workplace via a simple “thank you”—millennials would appreciate it, and embrace the possibility of working harder and achieving more for the company.
- Speaking of feedback, make it a habit: Feedback feeds the minds of these curious millennials, and helps them know if they are on the right track. Make yours constructive, empowering, and never embarrassing, and you’re sure to fire up your millennial in no time.
- Millennials respect mentors, not micromanagers: Thinking about how micromanaging can solve this ongoing gap between you and your millennial? Well then, you’re in for a wrong ride. Millennials value connections with their superiors, and the quickest way to start is to act like a mentor instead of a micromanager. Guide, not overpower. Inspire, not overwhelm. No one, after all, wants to work with a superior who acts like an owl with a set of binoculars for hands.
- Acknowledge their need for a work-life balance: Unlike older generations, it’s not always about work for these millennials. For them, the workplace is just another world far different from the things they do and invest in that connect them to both society and themselves: a lot of extracurricular activities, ideas to create, things to tweet, yoga moves to master, self-care habits to nurture. Give them the space they need to grow both in and out of the workplace to keep them motivated.
- Celebrate their independence: Forward-thinking, freedom-loving. These are just two adjectives that can describe how millennials “roll.” If you want to see them develop, show trust, grant enough room for them to express their ideas, and do not tighten up on their creative freedom.
Given the right platform and proper attention, millennials can truly shine—at their best, they can contribute greatly to a workplace’s success through their natural curiosity, hard work, and tenacity. Don’t be afraid to give them a chance to stand out.