24 Jan

3 Simple Things Seasoned Leaders Can Learn from Millennials

Life is a like an eternal university. Once you enroll in the program, you matriculate until you reach your final graduation. Business is the same. Once you get a taste of the hustle and bustle of generating revenue and impacting people, it’s hard to want to jump ship and enjoy the fruit of your labor. As life would have it, all good things must come to an end and you have to prepare yourself to pass the baton to the next life-long learner.

Society paints a warped picture of how Millennials recognize the generations that came before them. In turn, older generations such as Boomers and Xers have a hard time welcoming Millennials into the fold. Technology has made doing business complicated because information now travels faster than the speed of sound. Millennials are old enough to remember what it’s like to perform research in a library and use actual books, but young enough to harness the power of technology to work for their benefit.

Because innovation has progressed the speed of doing business, seasoned leaders have put up mental blocks that prohibit them from fully embracing the ways of the newer generations. Some say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Millennials say, if it’s not broke, you can make it better. Somewhere in the middle of both statements is a common ground that both sides can agree on – we all want to make “it” better.

If you are a seasoned leader who desires to connect with the next generation of leaders, here are three things Millennials know that you can learn from.

  1. Millennials don’t just get the job done. We want to be effective.

There is a fine line between marking things off the “to-do” list and moving a project along so that it reaches the finish line. For so long, the positions of being a “leader” and being a “manager” have been interchangeable. Millennials have recognized that while the two share characteristics, they are not one and the same. Managers have a tendency to dictate, to push and to facilitate the movement of people and the tasks they perform. They make sure the job gets done. Leaders are the ones who make sure that while the job is being done, the people doing the job are performing at optimum levels. Leaders make sure that their followers are engaged and at least enthusiastic about their work.

Millennials know the power of people engagement and how being people-oriented individuals motivate others to take action. When it comes to being in charge of people and processes, Millennials have cultivated the characteristic of facilitating effective communication do induce a feeling of collaboration and cohesiveness between teams. As a leader, if you want to improve the results you get from your people, be willing to get in the trenches with them to understand why they feel the way they do and how you can help make their working situation better for them.

  1. Millennials don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to make it better.

Millennials often get chided for desiring quick progress. The myth is Millennials don’t have patience and don’t want to put in an honest day’s work to get the results they want. The truth is that Millennials realize that with time, comes improvements and with improvements what used to take a day to do, can now take an hour. This means that Millennials have mastered working smarter, not harder.

The difference between Millennials and “seasoned” leaders is that the seasoned are afraid to rock the boat. They are afraid to challenge the status quo. Millennials are afraid not to take risks. They are not afraid to shake things up if it leads it better results. As a leader, you cannot be timid in your approach to making a difference in your company or organization. You have to be willing to do the things that the new generation has adopted to see how you can connect the dots and improve your company and your company’s performance results.

  1. Millennials are not after your position. We want your guidance. 

Leaders are not leaders until they have created other leaders. The most effective leaders are those who share their knowledge and wisdom with others to make others better. As a leader, you cannot hold your position forever. There will come a time when you’ll have to pass the torch to someone else to continue what you have built. That’s where mentorship comes into play.

Millennials are searching for mentorship because they want to know what worked and what worked so they can make it better. Contrary to popular belief, Millennials don’t want someone to give them all the answers. They want someone to give them feedback on what they do well and what they can work on to get better. No one wants their hard work to go to waste. And as a leader, you should want to leave your work in the hands of someone who is capable and excited to continue what you started. If you can deposit your knowledge into one individual who you believe has the will to forge forward in creating a sustainable foundation for others to learn from, you should be excited to pass on what you know.


If you are an organization leader who is looking for a Millennial Engagement Consultant to help your organization bridge generational gaps for performance success, you need to hire me. Send me an email at maleeka@maleekahollaway.com and let’s get your strategy in route.