WORK SMARTER

Millennials Want Mentors, Not Managers

Millennials want leaders who inspire, challenge and value them.

Sonali Verghese
Feb 2, 2020 · 7 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Victor Xok on Unsplash

Millennials, like Andre, view their work as a central part of their lives, not as a distinct activity to be “balanced” . They thrive on purpose-driven challenge and fulfilment.

They want to meet new people, learn new skills and find a deeper meaning in their work. They want mentors who inspire and challenge them, who guide and coach them, who instill in them a greater sense of purpose.

Millennials are often viewed with antipathy

For years, there has been a visible generational bias — bordering on antipathy — against millennials. It’s impossible to get through any form of media content without encountering some misguided, and often exaggerated diatribe against them — that they’re a lazy, attention-seeking, entitled and narcissistic generation, that they require constant coaching, incessant feedback, and round-the-clock reassurance.

Image for post
Image for post
Source: Harvard Business Review

Mentoring millennials

Andre’s story got me thinking — at the ripe old age of 25, I can count on one hand the number of peers I know who are still working for the same employer they joined upon graduating college. Contrast that with my parents’ and grandparents’ generations — they spent decades working for the same employer.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Empower

The emerging trend in leadership is a manager who guides, not commands. Create a supportive work environment where employees can have direct connections with management, regardless of title or seniority — this goes a long way in building trust and understanding.

Hierarchy and bureaucracy are out. Open communication and collaboration are in.

The new generation seeks out inclusive workplaces that eschew the rigid constraints of bureaucracy and embrace collaboration.

Support

Millennials are driven by the pursuit of passion and development in their work — they want to develop and hone their skills. They want to feel supported in order to be more efficient and proficient. To them, personal development is a top priority.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Guide

Millennials look up to their seniors — they hope to learn from them, to emulate them, to be successful like them. Managers who listen to their employees and connect with them one-on-one will be respected.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +752K people. Follow to join our community.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store