6 things you need to know to lead the PlayStation generation
Practical tips for leading millennials
I’m quite senior, I’ve never used a PlayStation, but I feel so aligned…..probably that’s due to the child still alive inside myself.
That’s why I feel comfortable in a bridging role connecting people’s diversity and generations
1] They learn through experience. We don’t call them the PlayStation generation for nothing. They grew up playing a lot of video games without using instructions. They learned to make it to the next levels of these games by dying over and over again. They can be like that in their professional careers too. They throw themselves into new experiences without a lot of planning and learn by failing.
2] Their lives are non-linear. The world has always been complex and volatile for this generation. They have witnessed the Asian financial crisis, climate change, 9-11 and the war on terror, the 2008 financial crisis, all before they were established professionals. This generation has never seen the world as a safe and coherent place.
3] They ARE loyal. But to principles and not to people. This is where some of the accepted wisdom about millennials comes to play. They appreciate personal development. They love new opportunities. But they will not follow your lead just because you are the boss.
4] Assumptions about privacy, boundaries and roles are fluid and permeable. This can be good and bad. We have all heard horror stories of young adults suffering consequences for what they post on social media, like that friend of a friend who got fired for calling their boss a jerk on Facebook.
5] Power is distributed and control requires permission. In other words, millennials don’t put up with bad bosses. They don’t listen to authority if they don’t agree.
This might seem like a challenge, but in the long run the sooner people stop accepting poor leadership, leaders will have to improve. Everyone will benefit.
The lesson here is: don’t be a lazy leader. Make sure your millennial employees understand why your organization and team are doing what they are doing. Don’t just say “do it because I said so”.
6] They are not good at boring but necessary work. Millennials don’t like to concentrate on boring tasks that lead to mastery and build character if those tasks don’t have clear benefit. In order to develop expertise and wisdom in any industry, people have to invest in non-glamorous grunt work to get to know their sector by heart. These types of experiences also help build patience to work through a problem until it’s solved.
Today’s senior managers should put in extra effort to show the digital cowboys why the hard work is important. Leaders need to make sure that entry level talent know that having a deep understanding the different aspects of an industry will help them in more senior roles later on.
Companies and organizations by and large have been good at getting millennials in the door for a while now, but they have been more challenged about getting them to transition to higher levels of responsibility.