Do You Utilize Powerful Cross-Generational Leadership Communication?
10 May

Do You Utilize Powerful Cross-Generational Leadership Communication?

The Harvard Business Review recently said that what Millennials in the workforce want most can be summed-up in a single word: coaching. They want leadership that delivers personal development tools and strategies to advance their careers. Here are 6 ways to give them what they want to make your organization more competitive.

#1 Be Generous with Feedback

Some employees are resistant to positive critiques and reluctant to accept feedback. But that’s not the case with Millennials, who are 50% more interested than others in receiving feedback. The majority of them report that they prefer feedback on a monthly basis, for instance, not quarterly or annually. Give them that kind of support and they will become your loyal team members and your future leaders. But neglect to provide that and they’ll likely move on to play a more meaningful role in a different organization.

#2 Appeal to a Higher Sense of Purpose

If you are heading up a multigenerational team, be aware that Millennials are excited about working for causes, not institutions. Trying to motivate them may not work if your focus in on rallying them around departmental metrics. The younger generation instead derives powerful inspiration from being reminded that the work they do every day is contributing to the communities in which they live, and their company is helping make the world a better place.

#3 Be Authentic and Genuine

Just as they value genuineness in their work, they also expect it in their leaders. They want authenticity, and want to know that those who lead them also have depth and are being true to themselves. Use your soft skills to communicate your own story and don’t be afraid to share both the successes and the setbacks that got you to where you are and taught you life lessons that define your leadership and establish your credibility.

#4 Focus on Measurable Outcomes

Don’t be overly concerned with the approach to a project or process taken by a younger employee, just because you don’t understand it. Instead concentrate on whether they are meeting the specific expectations you’ve set for them. You may be able to learn a better, more efficient way of doing things and running collaborative teams, if you pay attention to the methods of high-productivity Millennials.

#5 Clarify those Confusing, Unwritten Rules

Also be aware that younger team members may not grasp the unwritten rules of the organization. One area where that often comes up in my work is in terms of dress codes that companies expect to be followed, despite the fact that they do not publish those. As a Millennial you may need to take cues by observing senior leaders to interpret those unspoken expectations. As a leader of younger teams you may need to more explicitly communication those expectations, rather than leaving them unsaid and vague, if you want true accountability.

#6 Respond to Responsibility

If you’re a younger employee wanting greater responsibility, don’t be shy about taking notes during meetings. That can help you keep track of what was conveyed or assigned, even if you are bombarded with distractions right after the meeting. Doing so will ensure that you follow-through, which is solid evidence that you not only listen but also take responsibility for getting things done – an attribute every organization values.

What issues do you face in your multigenerational workplace? I’d love to hear from you about this pervasive source of challenges that is so relevant today.

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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