How to Connect with Millennials

I share a story from a recent graduate about their first experience in the work force.  To keep with their wish for anonymity, he/she is their pronoun.

This grad found that very few coworkers seem to care about him/her other than in job related issues.  Very few smiled when greeting them, and few even looked up in passing.   He/she feels that labeling as a "millennial or generation y" creates a disconnect in the work place. They found very few role models or mentors, as "everyone was just into THEIR own thing".  The recent grad went on the say, "I want to make it work, and so I hang in there, but it is tough when many seem they just don't care.   Wow!   


So what can we do to work more effectively with one another?


1)  Communicate--When there is a lack of communication to the new employee, they will fill the time with their own narrative and perception of reality.  This is usually negative.

2) Take time out to reach out to a young employee.  In addition to sharing the team or company vision, care about them.  Help them to see what it takes to "walk the walk" as a "teammate' and as a person.  This is what the new generation is looking for in a mentor or role model.

3) Try to understand that, while each generation will be challenging, everyone has a gift.  Reach out and let them know how important their gift is for team success.  When they see that their gift is valued for the overall good of the team, they will thrive.

4)  Do not label.  Just because some of us are in our 60's does not mean we are dinosaurs (or no longer contribute).....think of us as WISE, not old :)  .....labeling a gen y or millennial as lazy clumps one into a catagory and causes immediate disconnect.  Always ask, What is their gift ?


We must find a way to work effectively with all generations!!!!  I repeat, A good start is to look at those with experience as Wise, not old......and to work hard to inspiring the "newbies" to find their gifts.


In this Ted Talk, Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military.  How the only difference between different generations is their experiences. He discusses how building a sense of shared purpose is by listening and learning -- and addressing the possibility of failure. Remember our post from last week?

Mutual Purpose + Mutual Respect = Positive Crucial Conversations = Goal Achievement

Joseph Grenny's Mastering The Art of Crucial Conversations

Joseph Grenny is a four-time New York Times bestselling co-author, keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for business performance.  He co-founded the company Vital Smarts, which teaches business leadership through online training classes, conferences, and webinars all based on the philosophies of his four books.  The speech we've decided to write about (video linked below) is based on his first book "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High."

In this speech, Grenny asks the question, "What behavior if changed would make the biggest difference in the world?"  His answer:  the method with which we communicate during conflict of ideas, perspectives, and problems.  According to the philosophy, conflict is inevitably achieved during the pursuit of every goal causing emotions to run high.  It is during these intense "crucial conversations" where most people fall short of inspiring change.

Grenny explains that the cost of avoiding "crucial conversation" means to either strive for a meaningless life and career, or to "act out" the conflict (IE physical manifestations of anger and disrespect).  He argues that silence isn't truly silent because it will show up in accelerated and unhealthy ways in the future.  Conflict is not a pit or obstacle to avoid, but stairs to creation.  So, how can we handle these conversations in a way that creates positive growth instead of a growing conflict?  

As a leader, how can you make sure that your message is heard properly, that your intention is received positively, and the follower is self motivated to make the changes you desire?  How do you receive crucial conversations that are begun by those around you?  How can you react to these conversations more effectively?  

Grenny ultimately explains the importance of connecting emotionally with the people around you.  That people never become defensive about what you're saying, they become defensive because of why they think you're saying it.  Don't run from it, don't sugarcoat it, just be candid, honest, and respectful.  

Positive intention requires:
1. Mutual Purpose - Sharing a common goal
2. Mutual Respect - The Continuance of knowing that I care about you

What crucial conversations have you experienced recently? Were they life changing or did they fall flat?  How can you strengthen the relationships with those around you so that next time it makes more progress?

Love, Fear, and Leadership

This article is an oldie but a goodie from the Harvard Business Review back in 2013 titled "Connect, then Lead."  It debates the effectiveness of leading through fear, love, or a balance between the two.  Spoiler alert, confident and compassionate leadership wins. This struck a chord with its statistics, eye opening arguments, and "how to" tips.  The old Machiavelli style of leading through fear is, at best, outdated.  For most it never worked!

The leader-follower connection helps to dictate an environment where the follower feels valued; the leader is respected; energy flows both ways; and both are able to make sense out of what they are working towards (have a greater sense of purpose).

Years ago, coaches led by what they did (science), and what they asked their athletes to do.  Then there was a combination of the science and art (how to be more effective at the skill, flow, drills, etc).  Now the leadership is about the why (does it make sense) of the what and how.  In essence, there must be a connection to reach the Silver Bullet, or the "All-In" Culture.  

Invest in people's lives and you both shall find joy and success.


Are Leaders Born or Made? has some intriguing statistics about whether or not leaders are born or made.  According to this article, published in Feb. 2015, research indicated that leadership is only 30% genetic. The odds don't seem in anyone's favor to just leave team culture and leadership up to chance.  This is why Baltimore Leadership Guides was founded.  Leadership is a lifelong journey of development, growth, and collaboration with those around you.