Millennials…

Who are Millenials ?

Social scientists have given various age brackets to identify “Millenials”. It is broadly agreed that all those born between 1980s and 2000 would belong to this group. This is a social cohort with specific behavioural characteristics. While there is a lot of talk on the concept of dealing with multiple generations in organizations today, it has been so even in the past. The only difference could be in the radical behavioural shift of this cohort as compared to the past.

The first distinguishing characteristic of Millenials is that they are very clear in what they want to do in life. They are confident and ambitious and define their own path. They are not worried about what society thinks of them. They can deviate from time tested paths and carve a road of their own choice. This makes them difficult to understand as a cohort as individual behaviours may not necessarily reflect the behaviour of the group as a whole.

The second unique characteristic of this group is that they are technologically savvy. The mobile phone is ubiquitous in their lives. They easily adapt to technology and make the best use of it. Sometimes you do get a feeling whether technology determines their behaviour or they manage technology that way. They are well versed in technology and know how to use it to their best advantage.

The third nature of this cohort is they are restless. While being impatient for results may be a good idea, it may make them demotivated very fast. For eg., if they post something on social media and do not get many likes within minutes of their post, they get disappointed easily. This impacts their work and their life. They want to achieve success in half the time of their seniors. While it is good to be ambitious, it may be necessary to be patient for results.

The fourth quality of the Millennials is they have a lot of ideas. If their ideas are channelised and they are guided properly, they can achieve results much faster than their older generations. I have always felt energised in the company of these people. They challenge you all the time but are also willing to be challenged in every way. We need to have a participative style of leadership to deal with them.

The last quality which I admire most in this group is their ability to take risks. In my class in college, hardly one or two students would venture out to start a business after completing our professional education. In this generation, more than one third of the class wants to start something of their own. They are willing to work hard, put forth their ideas and are not afraid of failure. On the contrary, many of us do not have the guts to do that even today.

As in the photo above, this duo is full of energy and they only are looking to channelise the same to bring out their best always.

I have enjoyed every moment I have spent with this generation. It is not right to imagine that they have arrived from a different planet and behave differently. It is true their goals and aspirations are different. They have clear goals, willing to take risks, adapt to technology faster and are impatient for results. If we are willing to channelise their ideas and create a supportive environment, they are bound to succeed.

It is up to us to learn from them and lead them into a brighter future.

S Ramesh Shankar

Learning management from kids

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I have always been a great fan of kids. I have felt energised in their company and learn from them in every interaction. Of course, they do test our patience at times but so do we. I was wondering if it is a good idea to translate today’s management concepts to what we could learn from the behaviour of kids. We may not have realised it during the incident but if we look back, it is interesting and provides great insights.

Mission : I remember an incident from my childhood when I ran for miles behind a gas balloon which had flown away from my hand. While looking back and logically it may look foolish. But the kids have high levels of perseverance and never give up to achieve their mission in life.

Strategy : I am reminded of many incidents where my son has strategised and accomplished what he wanted to get in his life. Once my son wanted to go with his classmates in college for an educational tour. He had made up his mind and had evolved a foolproof strategy to achieve his goal. He first tried with me and then with his mother. He then pursued the same with his teacher and made his teacher convince us of how useful it would be to send him. Thus, although initially we had not approved his tour, he did make it finally.

Conflict resolution : While kids may end up fighting at the drop of a hat, I have seen them resolving conflicts much easier than adults. What I have noticed in them is that they are ready to move on in life. They are willing to forgive and forget. As adults, we tend to carry the grudge for our lifetime. Our egos prevent us from forgiving others and we are worried as to who has to first ring the bell for peace.

Listening : Do we remember how our kids listened to stories at night ? Even today when I see my grandson who is 7 years old listen to my wife I am stunned at his level of concentration. When he is listening to a story, he is in rapt attention. He does not fiddle around a mobile phone or watch TV and also listen. This is what most of us do. Hence, kids can take a class for us on attentive listening, which is critical for success as a leader.

Communication : While behavioural scientists have established that more than seventy percent of behaviour is non verbal, we do not use it effectively in our day to day communication. We need to learn from kids. A child may communicate effectively even without uttering a word. The expressions on their face , the laughter, the cry and et all can speak more than a thousand words.

Interpersonal skills : I have seen kids mingle even with strangers without any bias. Why do adults find it difficult to work in a team even with people known to them ? One of the factors I have noticed in kids is that they do not have any conscious or unconscious bias towards others. They are willing to let go. They take the initiative to interact and are willing to accommodate others in the group. As adults, we seem to have erased these qualities as we grow up.

Perseverance : I have seen kids go up and down the slide multiple times till they succeed. I have never seen them give up in life on anything. Why do we as adults tend to give up even before we give things a try ? Kids have the patience and the perseverance, which we need to learn. As we grow up our patience fades and so does our perseverance. We end up making simple things complicated and thus give up even without a try.

It may be worthwhile to observe the kids around us and learn management from them. The lessons are practical and real life. We can refresh our knowledge, skills and attitude to life. What do you think ?

S Ramesh Shankar