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Leadership Tips for Millennials

06 Jun Leadership Tips for Millennials

My presentation was over. I was picking up my luggage in the back of the room, anxious to leave the resort and get on to my next speaking gig. A young mid-20’s millennial was obviously waiting to talk to me as I tried to leave the hotel. I avoided making eye contact in my attempt to quickly rush away but I was too late. “Scott!” he shouted as my pace quickened.

I stopped to say hello, hoping that my quick glance at my watch gave him the non-verbal cue that I was late to fetch my uber car. “I can’t tell you how much your program made a difference for me.” Okay, so now I was interested in talking with him. Apparently he knew how to get my attention. Yeah, I’m easy that way.

“I’ll get right to the point,” he said. At that point I liked him even more. “You talked about a program on how leaders can develop loyalty. I’m a new manager. I’ve never been in this role before. I’m a millennial and everyone I am managing is older than me. Is there some sort of iphone app or even a checklist I can download to get better at leading?”

Wow, at this point I wish I had time to coach him a little, so I was forced to share a bullet point verbal summary in thirty seconds or less of how a millennial manager can take action steps to become a better leader.

I told him this:

  1. Follow a Model You have Personally Observed. I told him to get a journal and write down the character qualities of his favorite boss. Start with a model you have noticed with your own eyes and use that as a template. Who inspired you to work harder? Who motivated you to reach farther?
  1. Document Your Wins. I told him to use this same journal to document any sort of “win” he experiences as a boss. Who were the players? What was the problem? What action steps did you take to make that win happen? Why was this significant? How long did it take for you to effect this change?
  1. Seek Advice. He was in his mid to late 20’s so I told him to find someone twice his age whom he respects and trusts. Maybe it’s a former business professor or a past boss, or even a current one. Bounce ideas off of him or her. Ask for help in complex leadership scenarios.
  1. Memorialize Your Learning Experiences. Maybe you make a mistake or things don’t go as well. Don’t fret over them. It’s not the end of the world. According to performance expert Dr. Ken Christian ( , there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Use mistakes as a benchmark on which you can build better judgment.

If you follow these four steps, I guarantee that you will be stopping everyone in their tracks, especially those who follow you.

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