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The 10 Letter Bad Word

M-i-l-l-e-n-n-i-a-l 

In fact, Millennial has become such a negative term that there’s an app - an extension- that you can install on your browser, that will replace the word “millennial” if it shows up on a website.

Obviously developed by a Millennial, it’s recommended by the developer of the app that instead of using the word Millennial, that one uses the term “young adults.”

This ridiculous extension caught my attention because I think it’s very interesting that a lot of clients and organizations we work with at GenDev are so incredibly frustrated with their young team. So I see where this pervasive attitude derives from.

But for me, it can be frustrating to deal with so many bosses who are stuck in their ways and not willing to make the necessary changes to lead effectively.

Boom.

But that's who we are as people, and I suppose I would be out of a job if this were easy.

We’re experiencing severe negativity on both sides.

It typically comes down to values, but it's also just the day-to-day. Working with anyone is hard. People are tough to deal with. Millennials frequently end up getting the blame.

Then, on the other hand, it's frustrating for young adults, for Millennials, because they don't want to be stereotyped. They want to feel cared for and valued. I can assure you that young adults want to experience success in the workplace.

And I’m certain that you've got some really great millennial's on your team, but many leaders aren’t recognizing them because they are in the wrong frame of mind.

So bosses are frustrated because they’re not getting what they expected, and Millennials are frustrated at being criticized.

Who’s right? Does it really matter?

The whole situation is actually too bad because the real truth is that Millennials are taking over the place... including our organizations.

The biggest wealth transfer that’s happened in history is going to involve millennial talent. Obviously.

They are moving into management and they’ll be running the show soon.

...businesses and leaders and bosses need to make significant, intentional steps to bring these young adults along: to train them, to invest into them, and to teach them what they want done or how they want it done.

Finding ways to take advantage of the skill sets, understanding that there are new ways of solving problems, and implementing the great ideas that are coming from this generation is the strategy.

OK Wesley, so Millennial is a bad word. Not all Millennials suck… I get it. That doesn’t change anything today, right now.

Well, the first thing we need to do as leaders and bosses is to change our mindset and attitude about how we approach them.

That's really the plan of attack.

Now, I don’t want to be a hypocrite, there are times within our campaigns that I use “millennial” derogatively to get a point across or to amplify frustrations so my audience will pay attention to what I’m saying.

But in practice, although I experience similar frustrations when I'm leading my young team, it's always important to me that I don't talk about them or to them derogatively.

And hopefully they understand-- especially the young adults that work for me--why it's helpful to label cohorts and segments in the first place, and that it's not always a negative thing.

The second thing that you can do for extra credit--as a bonus--is to make a small step towards changing your own behavior and actions. Identify one thing that you can do that will that will support, invest in, or encourage the Millennials on your team.

Right now, go do it.

Consider one practice or habit that you can do every day.

Whether it’s a quick meaningful question or conversation, a statement of encouragement, a memo, or a meme…

For me, I’ve been making it a point to encourage my team at each daily huddle with an inspirational speech. It’s usually a quick “One for the Gipper” chat that addresses an area in which we are struggling.

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