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Millennials, The New Decision Makers

From the Mediation Matters Blog of Steve Mehta.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a District Attorney (DA)who was about my age about his shock at a new DA who wanted to lead the entire homocide unit within 3 years, and he expected to get a homocide case straight out of law school. (This was a shock to my friend because you have to at least been with the DA’s office at least 6 years before you are assigned a homocide, and have to first do misdeameanors to cut your teeth.) This discussion got me thinking about the Millennial generation — the Generation after GenX. This generation has started to grow and get into the work force, and I have been increasingly thinking about how to interact with such generation. In communicating with each person, you must take them individually, but you can also learn lessons on how to adapt to that person’s style if you wish to have better communications. As negotiators, you have to be able to understand the audience so that you can present better to them.

As such, I decided to look into some information regarding millenials. Here is an excerpt of an article I saw on the topic in pyschology today by Ronald Riggio, PH.D.

Part of successful leadership is adapting your leadership style or behaviors to address the qualities and needs of the followers – a component of the highly-effective transformational leadership. The emerging group of workers – who most are calling the “Millennial Generation” – born between 1980 and 2000, are a different breed than the generation before them (Generation X) and the Baby Boomers before them.

Here are the ways in which Millennials differ from their predecessors:

They are Technologically Savvy. Obviously. They grew up with PCs, the Internet, and i-phones. They embrace, rather than resist, new technology (as opposed to Boomers). AND, they are interconnected.Bully an employee and you will end up on eBosswatch, Rate My Boss, or another on-line “evaluation system” – and their 840 facebook friends will instantly know all about it, too.

They Play Well With Others. (Good in teams). Millennials are so networked that they are never truly alone. They can collaborate and aren’t afraid to ask others for assistance (as opposed to the do-it-alone, Gen Xers).

They Want the World (and They Want it Now). Millennials are hopeful, and cautiously optimistic. They are “civic-minded” and want to change the world and make it a better place, but they are impatient about it. Millennials grew up volunteering in school and elsewhere, so they are committed to social causes and to righting the world’s ills.

They Want Recognition and to Be Taken Seriously. Doted on and empowered by their parents, Millennials want their ideas to be heard. They want to participate in decisionmaking, and they don’t believe much in the authority hierarchy or in the idea of having to have “put in time” or “earn your stripes.”

They Want Employee-Centered and “Fun” Workplaces. With the tough job market, Millennials are realizing that they need to be creative, flexible, and innovative to support themselves. But, the thought of spending their lives in a traditional corporate environment is seen as a fate worse than death. Google and other cutting-edge organizations realize this and have developed creative, fun, and employee-centered environments to attract and retain the most talented Millennials.

So, how do you manage and lead Millennials?

Take into account their needs. Realize that they are creative and good at multi-tasking, but they need structure. In their creative hubbub, they might get lost without it. Take advantage of their tech-savviness and their ability to work together well.

Importantly, Millennials are idealistic and have a strong sense of what they want their leaders to be. In short, they want their leaders to be heroes (superhero movies are box-office winners with Millennials), who have integrity, and a sense of fairness and concern for employees. Leading the Millennial Generation successfully is going to be the key to success in the near future.

There are a variety of resources and an emerging body of research on Millennials. There is a great deal of attention to Millennials from colleges, libraries, and in the career and recruitment literature because most Millennials are still in school or just emerging into the workplace.

Here is a video from BNET that shows how to work with Millennials.

I also thought you might like to see a video created by Millennials regarding the same topic.

With this information, what are your thoughts as to how to communicate with millenials?


Steve Mehta

Steven G. Mehta is an attorney and mediator providing unique mediation services in a variety of types of civil litigation. His ability to understand the human process and complex emotional issues involved in legal negotiations enables him to effectively assist the parties in obtaining the best possible results during mediation.… MORE >

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