How To Manage Millennials

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Millennials are the largest generation, surpassing Baby Boomers, and they’re on your project team. How can you productively manage them?

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

managing millennials on projects

In Review: How To Manage Millennials

Millennials are not only on your project team, Jennifer noted, but a majority of them are leading projects. They’re a force in the business world and as a project leader it’s your job to know how to deal with them.

Jennifer went on to debunk some commonly held misconceptions about Millennials, such as they’re:

  • Lazy
  • Disconnected
  • Unreliable
  • Entitled

But the truth is that Millennials seek:

  • Community
  • Relationships
  • Collaboration
  • Contribution/Service
  • Remote work

It’s this labeling of a group of people that’s bad management, according to Jennifer. Her approach to best manage Millennials is threefold:

  1. Show Interest: ask questions, get to know their strengths, what they like, etc.
  2. Have a Vision: explain why the project matters and how they fit into that bigger picture.
  3. Champion Millennials: set them up for success, provide support and training, mentor and coaching, etc.

It’s really no different than managing any group of people who don’t tend to warm up to being stereotyped.

Pro-Tip: It’s important to understand all of the different generations that make up a work place, not just millennials. Do some more research on generation x, millennials, and baby boomers to understand how to get the most out of your team. A happy workplace is a productive workplace.

Take it Further: Millennials, like much of the workforce, tend to be working more remotely, which requires a different approach to management. But it also means that you’re going to attract and hire the most skillful team.

Thanks for watching!

Transcript:

Today, we’re talking about how to manage Millennials. It’s one of the hottest topics today in projects. As a matter of fact, due to numerous requests, I recently hosted a webinar. And what I wanna do is share with you some of the results, just to set the stage for what we’re talking about today.

So, in this webinar, I hosted two sessions. Each session or each group had approximately about a thousand members in attendance. And when we started, I asked two questions. The first question, I wanted to know, do you have Millennials on the team?

So, in the first group, 73% had Millennials on the team, and the second group had 86% Millennials on the team. And of that, I thought it was very interesting because I asked, “If you are a Millennial, what’s your role on the project?”

So I wanted to know, are you the project manager, or are you the team member? And I was shocked to learn that the majority of the Millennials on the projects were actually a project manager.

But what I wanna do today is, I wanna focus on those of you who are project managers, you do have Millennials on your team, and you’re managing the Millennials as team members.

And here’s why. Because there are several challenges that are existing today due to different generations, and I wanna just talk a little bit about the research and why that is.

So, the two distinguishing generations that are in focus are the Boomers and the Millennials, because the Boomers are actually retiring out of the workforce and the Millennials are now dominating the workforce.

So let’s talk about a few of the myths that you may hear about the Millennials. And I wanna remind you that a myth is not true. So we oftentimes hear that Millennials are lazy, that they don’t wanna do any work, that they’re disconnected. They don’t really wanna work with teams. They’re unreliable and they don’t wanna stay in your project or in your company. And they are entitled.

So, I personally am not experiencing that, and the more project managers and groups and organizations that I talk with one off, we’re just not finding that.

Here’s what we’re finding: that Millennials are seeking these things. They’re really seeking community. They like to be with people. They like to work on different projects together. They do like relationships, they just build them a little differently than we do. And that many times, right now, it’s through electronic devices. And they do enjoy collaborating. They like to contribute and be a part of something and be in service too. And they really enjoy working remotely. It’s part of their work ethic and the work style, to do a lot using a phone or a tablet or a computer.

What’s not working about how people are managing Millennials today happens to be that they’re so focused on these labels. I mean, I remember coming into the workforce right out of college and I had labels on me as well. Actually, some of the same ones were being placed on the people like myself coming into. And I admit, it probably happens to every generation.

So if we can get beyond the labels, that helps. Another one that’s not working is putting Millennials into unfulfilled roles. It’s like right now people don’t take the time to find out even what their skill sets or interests are, so they’re putting them in roles that they’re not qualified for and they’re really not interested in.

And there’s no expectations being set. They’re kind of like on…you know, people are working trying to get so much done in so little time, people aren’t sitting with them to set expectations. It’s kind of like you’re on your own when you come in. And no support. They’re finding they’re in these roles, they’re performing these job functions but no one there to provide training or even any support and guidance along the way. And then they just don’t see a shared vision. They really don’t know, you know, “Why are we doing this and how do I fit in?”

So here’s what I’m finding that works. It’s three things. Number one: Take interest. Ask questions about them. Find out, you know, what are your strengths? What are your interests? What are you passionate about? What do you like doing? And then align that to the open roles that you have.

Then the vision. Create or cast a common vision, not only for them but your entire team. Let them know what your project is and why it’s so important and what it means.

Then let them know how they fit in. Let them know why they’re so important and how they contribute. And then lastly is, become their champion. Really set them up for success. I mean, face it, the other generations are going out. And these are becoming the dominant workforce, so why not set them up for success?

Set expectations. Let them know and guide them along the way. Provide the training and support that they need to fuel their growth. And then coach, mentor and advise them. And I would also suggest that you add other mentors, advisors and coaches if you want. It doesn’t have to be just you.

And then, I allow people to mentor up. I mentor them but I learn so much more and they get so excited when they’re actually sharing. They like to share and give feedback and input. And then let them collaborate on the project and actually contribute ideas. I always see it generates interest and other synergies among the team. And then provide community. Provide community and other people that they can get involved with.

And then, lastly, I believe, more importantly, is believe in them. So if you need a tool to help you manage the Millennials on your team, then sign up for our software now at projectmanager.com.

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