InsideOut Development

Millennials Are Mad at You

by Cindy Holtom


Millennials are so demanding, am I right? “Talk to me, promote me, appreciate me!” And it’s never enough. If you give an inch of feedback, they’ll expect a mile. They’re mad when you don’t have time to help. They’re mad when you don’t invite them to important meetings. They’re mad when they haven’t been promoted fast enough. What’s a leader to do with all this madness?

1. Recognize that it’s not just Millennials who come to the office with demands. All people crave satisfaction from the work they do and require a few things to make that happen.

2. Don’t respond to their frustration with finger pointing. Instead, start an honest dialogue about what is causing it. Hearing your employees concerns and helping them solve problems is an important responsibility of leadership.

3. Practice empathy. Walk in their shoes, just for a moment, to move beyond false stereotypes.

Read on to see how many needs you have in common with the Millennials at your organization. Plus, check out this ebook for how to coach anyone like a Millennial.

No one wants to feel like a cog in the machine.

Everyone in your organization (including each Millennial) is a person with unique perspective and experience. These can yield powerful insights that benefit the business by serving customers and clients. Take the time to get to know your people and what’s happening in their lives. You may discover that one employee volunteers for a not-for-profit that your client loves; maybe an experience as a foreign exchange student has fueled an employee’s love for a culture where you’re trying to gain market share. By allowing individuals some freedom to be themselves at work, you might find value beyond your expectations.

No one wants to be left on the outside.

If you’ve been calling all the shots and making big decisions without your team, don’t be surprised when they’re mad. Do you expect your people to implement strategy and carry out tactical execution without being involved in the planning? Be transparent about what is happening so that together the best decisions can be made. Your team members need a seat at the table so they can understand what you’re thinking and how to best help.

No one wants their fire extinguished.

Millennials, like most people, want to realize their ambition for a satisfying career. Both the leader and employee benefit when an opportunity to tackle a new challenge is extended. With a little coaching from you, problems get solved and great work gets done. Your people are hungry to learn, grow, and lead—so ask them questions about their goals and give them a pathway to advance. Consider what a partnership would look like instead of defaulting into a top-down relationship. Have their back when they fall short and seek out opportunities to sing their praises when they succeed. When they shine, you shine, too.

No one wants to be ignored.

Millennials have a reputation for expecting a lot of feedback. It may seem overwhelming at times, but remember they aren’t asking for a formal report. In most cases, they just need a quick conversation to check in, a timely high-five on a small project, or a mention in the team meeting for the extra hours they put in to hit an important deadline. And it’s completely okay to take a moment to correct or offer a suggestion if you see an opportunity for them to improve. It’s all about reinforcing that their presence matters.

It’s easy to assume that all of your work frustrations are Millennials’ fault. But when you break it down, they’re just people with the same needs as everyone else. Bringing just a little more awareness and consideration into your daily interactions can make a big impact on culture, and eliminate some of the madness. And that benefits every generation on your team.

Learn more about coaching anyone in your organization (including Millennials) in this ebook from New York Times Bestselling Author and InsideOut Development Founder Alan Fine.

The Coach's Guide to Going Steady with Millennials

Category: Generation Y Millennials Retention

Picture of Cindy Holtom

Cindy is a seasoned designer with experience in brand creation, campaign strategy, event design, and product development. She delights in creating meaningful experiences for her clients and their customers, and is always jumping from podcasts to audiobooks, devouring ideas. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and 2 dogs. She loves to be outdoors and experience new perspectives.

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