Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. — Jack Welch
This week continues the exploration regarding what leaders can do, at a minimum, to lead millennials in the context of also leading the entire team (click to read). Last week we looked at the first of the three core requirements in fulfilling our responsibility to those under our authority: to lead (click to read).
This week I will explore the second core requirement: to provide.
As discussed previously, a chief requirement of leadership is to provide the tools, training, and resources for those who are being led – specifically, the tools necessary to complete their tasks and fulfill their role(s). Millennials express a particularly acute requirement in this regard. And, in delineating their needs, may include some items that are atypical when viewed through the lens of any preceding generation of workers.
Therefore, it will be incumbent on leadership to first listen to millennial team members to ascertain their “felt” needs. In doing so, the mere act of expressing concern and/or interest will open the door to understand what can be negotiated and what is truly “essential” in the mind of these workers.
While some may articulate that such an approach boils down to dealing with those who are simply “spoiled,” a more generous perspective may be to recognize that millennials often hold a different set of life-priorities. As discussed in a previous blog (read here), millennials have watched their parent’s generation work long, hard, and demanding hours, move multiple times in pursuit of career advancement, and in so doing, neglect priorities of family and longer-term relationships.
The result? There has been an actual values-shift to their priorities that is considered by these new workers as “worth more” than blind career pursuits.
With these factors in hand, the leader who has a team that includes millennial workers may benefit from rethinking and redesigning the work setting to provide for this newer set of “needs.” Striking a balance will be important.
The goal here is not to pander to demands. Rather, the objective is to recognize that some (not all) of the needs expressed by millennials are very real to them – actually, very real. Determining which needs are – and which are not – will allow the wise leader to know what to provide.
And as ever, doing so will take the courage to lead.