There’s a lot of days when I feel like a dinosaur, especially in a world increasingly populated with millennials. So when I saw there was a breakout sessions on leading millennials at last year’s Catalyst Conference, I couldn’t say no. Brad Lomenick, author of The Catalyst Leader and H3 Leadership shared the following principles which all made a lot of sense to me . . .
- Authenticity rules – Millennials are the most informed generation ever. Information and awareness are everywhere so there is no hiding stuff from them. They can smell inauthentic a mile away. Millennials are drawn to ‘real’ and they run from ‘fake.’
- The rise of the free agent – Millennials love their freedom. They think in terms of gigs and projects rather than jobs and long-term employment. By 2020, 45% of U.S. workforce will be ‘free agents.’
- Everyone is a creator and a consumer of information – Millennials have been called the ‘producer generation’ . . . everyone creates content for everyone else.
- Membership economy – Millennials (and all of us) are members of tribes. You’re either an Android or Apple person. When we subscribe to Amazon Prime, we feel like we’re a part of something. Millennials value engagement over attendance.
- Decline of hierarchy – Millennials see the organization as flat and they like it. They want to be included. They want engagement to be real . . . not through memos or meetings. They favor text over email.
- New outlook on success – When I was ‘millennial’ age, I would have taken any job if it were a promotion. Millennials aren’t like that. If they enjoy what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with (notice I didn’t say ‘for’) they may pass up the opportunity to move up.
- A mobile workforce – Everyone wants to work from home or other places. Measurements must be on results, not being at a place, saying the right things and looking good.
- Small, local and DIY – Millennials have inspired a power shift from big, centralized and impersonal to small, curated and intimate. They want the best ideas regardless of where they come from. They thrive with cohorts, circles and conversations. Radical Mentoring’s staff of three often sits together, quietly working with only sporadic conversation. I could never have imagined this just a few years ago when everyone was locked away in private work spaces doing their thing.
- Retirement is going away – Millennials never talk about it. They’ve seen their parents’ dreams of retirement fade away or watched their grandparents retire, become selfish and irrelevant. They’re more drawn to the idea of a lifetime of meaningful work with seasons of sabbatical.
- A new kind of leader – This generation of millennials requires a new kind of leader . . . an aggregator, curator and coach . . . leaders who are caring mentors, not distant dictators.
I’m 67 years old and in my career, I’ve led organizations as small as 3 and as large as 1,500. Taking on the challenge of leading millennials over the last few years has reminded me of one huge principle . . .
Pick the right person, make sure they understand what their job is, trust them and get out of the way.
It’s a principle that works with everyone but it is especially true with millennials.
Scripture: Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (Proverbs 16:20)
Mentor Tip: If you’re mentoring millennials, become a student of that generation. We highly recommend Tim Elmore’s books, especially Generation iY.
Breathe New Life Into Your Discipleship
Small group mentoring can help you engage your people, build your core group of leaders, and transform your church. Our free resources equip you with all the tools you need to launch a sustainable mentoring program.