Berger Leadership Blog

Communication Jun 24, 2016

Managing millennials: Answering the ‘why’

Millennial Geezeo
Bryan Clagett, chief marketing officer at Geezeo, discussed the millennial generation during a session at Annual Conference. (Harrison McClary photo)

During NAFCU’s Annual Conference and Solutions Expo last week there were several breakout sessions regarding the millennial generation – those typically born between 1977 and 1995 – and how they think, their expectations and details about their financial and lifestyle habits.

Not surprisingly, all the sessions had a large turnout. As we work to understand this next generation, many of us are also figuring out how best to lead and manage millennials within our organizations.

Forbes contributor Victor Lipman, in a recent article, explains why millennials might not respond well to old “command-and-control tactics.” He said this generation needs the “why” answered more than the “what.”

“If management is able to give them a cause to believe in, a reason to care about the work they’re doing, a (legitimate) reason to believe that their role is helping to make a constructive difference in the world… well, then we’re speaking a language less like Sanskrit and closer to their own,” he wrote.

Simply put, this generation seems to care less about status, titles, an office with four walls and a little more money. That’s not to say those things don’t matter, but tapping their passion is what will energize them.

If you’re running into conflict when managing and leading millennials, try explaining why a task matters and how it fits into the big picture.

NAFCU employs many millennials – all full of big ideas and ready to make an impact. There’s always a learning curve when adopting new leadership tactics, but it’s well worth it once you tap into the passion and excitement of this generation.