Did you know that each generation has unique strengths? If you’re a millennial (born between 1981 and 1996), you may not even be aware what tools are in your “toolkit” to tackle the pandemic challenges. In this guest blog, author Carolyn Fore PhD shares insight from her research that provides clues for how Millennials can shine during these times.
This is a great time for Millennials to step up and use the leadership traits they excel in to provide excellent leadership for their organization or cause. Four areas in which Millennials have an advantage over their older co-workers are: technology, passion, collaboration, and social consciousness. Let’s explore each of these and how Millennials can use their strengths to excel in today’s workplace.
Millennials are known for their ability to use technology, and in this time of social distancing, being comfortable with technology is more important than ever. Whether it’s to use Zoom to get a group together, or one of the many social media platforms to spread the message, Millennials are more adept at these skills than older workers. Millennials have been using these technology platforms for years, so there is no learning curve. What may have been a criticism of a Millennial in the past for their time spent using their smartphone at work is now viewed as an asset as older workers ask for help navigating the digital workplace.
What can you do? It’s a great time to look for ways you can help others adapt to using technology if you are a Millennial, or ask a Millennial you work with to share their expertise if you aren’t.
Millennials frequently state that they only want to work on things they are passionate about. While that may in some ways be true for everyone, many Millennials take it to the level that they find a way to make it happen. When you are constrained in your ability to work the way you used to work, and are forced to find new ways to do things, you are much more likely to be creative and find ways to achieve your goals if you are doing something you are passionate about. Millennials are more likely to already be working at something they are passionate about, whether it’s their full-time job or their side hustle.
What can you do? Use this passion and creativity to find ways to grow during this time that aren’t “business as usual.”
Let’s not forget that Millennials have grown up in a world of collaboration, having been assigned to work in teams since they started school. While many of the older generations are feeling isolated by the pandemic, Millennials are finding creative ways to continue to collaborate with others because that’s what they do best. Their networks are well-established, and they are more comfortable asking for help from a friend or co-worker.
What can you do? Network with all age groups to keep in touch and help each other feel less isolated.
And last, but increasingly important, is the Millennial view of social consciousness. In this difficult time of the pandemic, almost everyone is seeing others around them with needs and looking for ways to help. This idea of social consciousness is a way of life for a Millennial, so once again, they are already tuned in to ways to help others in a crisis. Most of them have worked on projects for bettering their communities since they were in elementary school.
What can you do? This a natural opportunity for Millennials to take charge and lead the efforts in their organization to support the community.
These leadership traits that are natural to Millennials put them in a valuable position to lead the way during the challenging times of the pandemic. Millennials: Reflect on how this can be a time for you to use what you know how to do best. Not a Millennial? Take time to think about how these strengths can help your organization during these times and provide opportunities for Millennials to shine.
About the Author: Carolyn White Fore, PhD, is the author of Millennials Taking the Lead, and an adjunct professor teaching business and organizational behavior classes. She has many years of leadership experience in the workplace and likes to share her experience with others, especially by bringing visibility to Millennials as our future leaders. She lives in Atlanta and enjoys spending time with her family, teaching, and traveling. Learn more about her on her website.