Followers might not relate – and that’s ok
Millennials are known as the generation of acceptance and celebrating differences. Generally, they recognize that everybody is different, but everyone is equally awesome. This is great in a social setting, but it causes Millennial leaders to hold back the tougher messages for fear of seeming insensitive.
One of my favorite sayings is, “It’s nothing personal, just business.” But the Millennial mindset is that everyone has to fit in and everyone has to be perceived as being treated the same. However, in business you can’t celebrate poor performance or people falling behind the curve. You can celebrate them as a person, but not their performance. More than previous generations, Millennials have trouble distinguishing between how to approach professional and personal relationships.
I believe that everyone has a talent, but that people often land in jobs or positions that exploit their weaknesses rather than leverage their talents. What this means for companies within the supply chain is that instead of there being a frank conversation and an underperforming staff member is moved to a different position, Millennial managers might look to change the business operation to accommodate the shortcoming of the underperforming employee. This sort of interpersonal coddling hinders organizational growth by not providing the feedback a staff member needs for them to improve.
Work arounds that don’t address why a person isn’t delivering needed results isn’t helping that person up, it’s the exact opposite. Helping someone to the next level isn’t about lowering the bar to make it easier for them to succeed; it’s about providing the feedback and tools needed to create success for themselves. For Millennial leaders, this is a challenge. A boss demands. A leader coaches. But, the Millennial coddles.
Adapt, evolve, compete or die
What Millennials do extremely well is quickly adapt to change. A great example is the evolution of social media networks. After the launch and initial adoption of Friendster, soon after came MySpace and Facebook. For Millennials, they seamlessly adopted each new platform with no disruption. In fact, they became better at using each new platform to achieve their goals – whether that was growing their own personal network or building an audience for their company.
Past generations adopted new technologies at a much slower pace. When I was at IBM in the late 90s, we used traditional email as the primary means of communication. However, for years earlier there was a mainframe-based, less-internet communications program that used a mail client called cc:mail. It was basically early email. Fast forward back to 1998 and there were still Boomers who would say to me, “Send me a cc:mail,” even though we’d moved on to Lotus Notes email long before.
The point is, Millennial leaders can quickly adopt technology that gives them a competitive advantage. Instead of supply chain organizations collapsing because they can’t keep up with a changing marketplace, Millennial leaders will help them evolve and thrive.