The Millennial workforce is growing. If we aren’t looking at ways to engage and motivate Millennials in the workplace on their terms, I’m afraid we are going to fail at building successful teams and nurturing leaders.

And, friends, it takes great leaders to generate productivity.

I’m so often asked for tips and tricks and “help me please” techniques on how to manage Millenials in the workplace. I can tell you now, wanting to manage Millennials in the workplace is your first problem. When I approach problems around Millennials “being managed”, it’s no different to how I approach management for any generation.

And that is to forget the word “MANAGEMENT.”

Management, and particularly, “Managing Millennials” in the workplace says the wrong thing to me. It sort of says to me, they’re puppets and should obey. It’s a pretty inaffective approach for this generation. A generation that thrives on responsibility and flexibility.

My advice. If you want any peace or synergy, or most importantly, productivity in your workplace ––more specifically within inter-generational teams, you need to look at management in a whole new way. Now!

We need to see ourselves as leaders, or coaches, rather than managers. And we need to see our teams by their values, not by their ages.

Now that you’ve done that, let’s put Millennials back into the equation, because that’s what we’re here for.

It’s no secret I think they’ve had a rough trot and are being judged way too harshly in the media. Now, I don’t believe they’re all the things they say they are ––entitled, lazy, attention seeking and title-hungry. But I do believe they’re different, and therefore, respond to different approaches to leadership.

Of course they are. Millennials have grown up in a unique economical situation to any other generation. Globalisation has been the norm their whole lives. Millennials don’t know what it’s like to not think globally when they think of an economy. Crazy, I know. With that, they’ve also lived through one of the largest global financial crisis’(GFC) we have ever seen.

And even in their lifetime things have changed dramatically. In recent years, we’ve seen new ways of working and earning income. Like never before we don’t need to rely on one employer, one career ––‘til death do we part.

Millennials have had threats and opportunities other generations have never had before. And therefore, skills and values other generations don’t have.

In the last 10 years we’ve seen the rise of the gig economy–– businesses such as Uber, AirBnB, AirTasker and many others like it have sprouted and changed the way we look at earning a buck. Millennials did this.

We’ve also embraced social media––for our personal lives and for business. As well as nurturing a climate of authenticity and sharing ideas, social media has also brought with it an ability to grow lucrative, self-managing businesses quickly. Millennials have been at the forefront of this movement too. They are savvy business people.

Many Millennials have learned through the uncertainty of full-time employment (the way we knew it) to be more flexible and more creative when it comes to work. This uncertainty and flexibility nurtures ingenuity.

Millennial’s workplace behaviour is therefore very different to past generations. While some (those damn Millennial-shamers) might see these particular Millennial behaviours as bad traits, I see them as a brilliant opportunity for growth within companies. And you can see why I see “managing Millennials in the workplace” as an invalid term.

Our Millennials need coaching and leadership, not managing. This unique generation’s Entrepreneurial backbone is an endearing quality and one, when coached correctly, develop amazing teams and even better future leaders.

Instigator of Avacado-gate, Bernard Salt says,

“Millennials are the most educated, digitally connected and most widely travelled generation in history. Because of this they have a high predisposition for entrepreneurship.”

According to a survey conducted by REST Industry Super in 2016, more than a third of Australians aged 18-34 can see themselves owning their own business. And of the 1000 surveyed, more than half are willing to take a pay cut to work in a field they’re more passionate about.

Let’s work with that.

Entrepreneurial spirit (according to Business Dictionary) is characterised by innovation and risk-taking, and is an essential part of a nation’s (or company’s) ability to succeed in an ever changing and increasingly competitive global marketplace.  What more could you ask for?

It’s time we harness the entrepreneurial spirit in Millennials.

8 leadership techniques you should be engaging in to motivate Millennials are:

  1. Pushing boundaries
  2. Creating workplaces that are tech driven and tech savvy
  3. Keep the workplace fast paced
  4. Promote risk taking
  5. Promote and be clear about passion & purpose
  6. Be flexible
  7. Be inclusive
  8. Be customer-centric

Let’s flip it.

I truly believe our Millennials have the capacity to build more-engaged, multi-generational teams that will ultimately deliver better outcomes.

I know this because they’re already doing it.

Drive a positive and productive future by first changing the way we see Millennials in the workplace––they’re not hopeless and they’re not the enemy.

And then changing our attitudes toward “managing Millennials in the workplace.”

What are you waiting for?