The traditional hierarchy of a business organization with its top-down chain of command is passé. And so are the workplace attitudes wherein managers commanded absolutely and employees obeyed without question. Human resources training programs that teach this command and control style of management are no longer relevant.

The 21st century digital economy is dominated by Millennials, who are a new breed of employees with entirely new needs and wants. Research has shown than compared to past generations, millennials prefer coaching (as opposed to instructing) to help them reach their full potential as managers, employees and entrepreneurs.

The need for coaching is especially true in tech firms; internet firms; science start-ups; app developers and other firms in the digital economy whose cultures are shaped by millennials.

Coaching is today’s go-to training tool for millennials, and experience continues to prove this point. Coaching is personal, and is appropriately suited to the temperament of millennials. Why so?

It has to do with the peculiar psychological and sociological characteristics of employees born in the 1990s and early 2000s. Studies have shown millennials are different from most of us, and not only because they fiddle around with their smartphones a lot more.

To start with, millennials want to be coached. They truly do.

Research proves that millennials crave and respond to a good, positive coach who can help them succeed, according to a Harvard Business Review global survey in 2015. The same survey also revealed that millennials crave more feedback and guidance from their managers.

But the good news for managers and coaches is that millennials see their managers as their number one source of development. More tellingly, millennials emphasized that what they want most from their managers isn’t more managerial direction, per se, but more help with their own personal development.

This means millennials want to be mentored.

Millennials also want an approachable manager who can be a role model they can emulate.

The Harvard study also revealed that millennials want their managers to motivate and inspire them in all aspects of their lives. As employees, millennials want to be inspired by their team and the company mission, especially if this mission supports a higher cause such as eradicating world poverty.

The traditional mandates to make the company number one and corporate messages to work hard and smart, for example, hardly work on millennials.

Millennials also want to work with great people so they can be better at their jobs and realize their life goals. They’re also more cause-oriented, and want to help people and not institutions.

Millennials are more confident and more achievement-oriented than previous generations. They’re also more team-oriented.

Knowledge of these virtues is invaluable in any effort to bring out the maximum potential out of a generation that seems too laid-back. Millennials holds the future of our industries. And how well they are coached and mentored today will determine how our businesses will fare in the future.

Got millennials in your team? Let me help you harness their potential, send me an email at greg@inscapeconsulting.com and let’s talk about it!

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