27Make an Effort to Become a Millennial-Friendly Leader

There are plenty of stereotypes floating around about Millennials. Many of these are negative. Yet in working with businesses and communities around the country I’ve gotten to know many of these young people and have found that these stereotypes are not always accurate. I have coached and worked with many Millennials, and I like, respect, and value the vast majority of these young people.

Millennials aren’t a separate species. While they can be different from their older counterparts in many ways, generational differences are often overstated. Many of them can also be attributed to simple age differences between younger workers and older workers. Any challenges you notice might be a matter of experience, not evidence of a generational paradigm shift.

So yes, as a group, Millennials have some shared characteristics due to being born in the same era, but that is true of every generation. Realistically, when a person was born doesn’t define their work ethic or personality, nor does it mean they are all the same. Individual Millennials are just like individual Baby Boomers and Generation Xers—we’re all unique with our own set of strengths and challenges. We all deserve to be considered on our own merits.

That said, we older leaders need to seek to understand Millennials and leverage their gifts and their know-how (and they have plenty of both). Besides, they are the largest group in the workforce (Pew Research puts them at ...

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