As baby boomers are preparing to retire, the workforce is experiencing an influx of millennials — and their unique needs as employees. In contrast to their predecessors, millennials are technology-heavy and leverage networking and collaboration to solve problems.
Company leaders will need to adapt their leadership style to accommodate for more consistent, open channels of communication and the need for value in work. Millennials aren’t satisfied with filling a chair all day, and they’re asking more of their leaders, too. `
Today’s employees are motivated by having a sense of purpose. Visionary leaders are prime candidates to instill a feeling of teamwork and emphasize that the organization as a whole is working towards a shared goal. Leaders must shape a future that people want to work for, and they must be able to communicate why it’s the most beneficial plan.
In the face of changing situations and ever-evolving technology, adaptability is paramount to keeping employees engaged. Being transparent as goals shift and trajectories are recalibrated allows middle management the ability to fulfill their duties, as well as ensure that the company vision remains clear, even as it evolves.
Facilitation of Democracy
Part of creating a future that employees can buy into is making success relevant — obviously employees know that if the business goes down, so does their job. However, if the success and growth of the business stands to benefit their quality of life, there’s a greater motivation to work harder.
Facilitating democracy within a hierarchy, when appropriate, can be an excellent way to achieve an open and invested company culture. In order to do that, leaders must create a space where employees feel heard and valued. Leaders must choose strategic moments to open decision making or brainstorming to all employees, and then follow through on listening. Incorporating multiple points of view into problem solving demonstrates that being valued is part of being an employee.
People First Attitudes
Making employees feel valued stems from a people-first mindset. When managers prioritize the human aspects of their employees, they automatically start to create a culture of understanding and reciprocity. As employees put more time and energy into the company, they can trust that the organization will reciprocate in times of need.
For some leaders, this means taking a vested interest in their employees’ personal lives. For others, it may mean that data-driven results comes second to the overall tenor of their employees. No matter what form employee recognition takes, it’s apparent that the little things can have a huge impact.
In order to put people first, you must understand needs, wants, and priorities, as well as the best ways to facilitate them without sacrificing authority or integrity. Physical factors influence emotional wellness and can impact workplace dynamics dramatically. As a leader, being able to identify and manage emotions is key to keeping a workplace running smoothly. Emotional intelligence plays a huge role in decoding why people do what they do.
Being cognizant of emotional intelligence among employees equips leaders to create work groups with better interpersonal dynamics, as well as mitigate conflicts before they happen. Mediation skills can be passed on to employees, as well, to help them build their own toolbox of constructive conflict resolution strategies.
Passing skills on to employees, as with emotional intelligence, will save leaders time and energy as their team becomes more adept. In past eras, bosses and managers were authoritative figures who enforced the company line. Today’s workforce demands more of their superiors, preferring a coaching strategy with frequent and open communication.
Cultivating a coaching attitude over an authoritative persona will foster innovation and problem solving. When employees are encouraged to think for themselves and learn new strategies, their sense of value to the company will increase, in turn upping engagement.
Today’s workforce is demanding change among their leaders. They want to see open doors and hear constructive criticism, and effective leaders are finding that utilizing engaging, proactive strategies results in happier employees.
When employees are happier, they’re more engaged, and the organization profits (financially and culturally) from their hard work.
She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek