FlipMyFunnel Post

The 3 Things Millennials Want From Leaders

Are you struggling to manage your millennial talent? 

Millennials are the largest section of the workforce now. Yet, somehow, a lot of leaders seem to think they’re unmanageable. But that’s a myth. 

Millennials aren’t the problem. They expose the problem. 

That’s the mantra of our guest today, Chris Tuff, author of “The Millennial Whisperer,” a practical guide for how to work with and motivate millennials. 

His book is a great read. It’s packed with useful tips on working with millennials and also debunks many of the stigmas clinging to the world’s largest generational cohort.

This post is based on a podcast with Chris Tuff. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.

The 3 things millennials want out of leadership

Chris: Millennials aren’t the problem, they just expose all the problems. If you look at the things they want more than anything else, they tend to make sense. 

We have five generations in the workforce right now. And I’m not saying that we need to cater to millennials, I’m saying is that we need to use some of their needs as a place to change the way that we are working.

We are so quick to adapt to technology — look at Instagram stories and some of these things we every day as a part of our habits, but yet we’re so slow to change the way we run our organizations. 

Millennials want 3 things out of leadership:

  1. Inspirational leaders
  2. Autonomy
  3. Transparency


Millennials want inspirational leaders

Chris: I love inspirational leadership because if you as any leader “Hey, are you an inspirational leader?”

Most of them will say yes.

So you go, “Hey Bob, do you consider yourself an inspirational leader?” And Bob will say “Heck yeah, man. They light up, they laugh at my jokes.”

But then you go ask two people on Bob’s team and the first thing they ask is “Is Bob going to find out?”

When you tell them Bob’s not going to find out, they’re like “Heck no, he’s not!”

Your people just want to feel connected to you on a personal level. So, what I say to everyone is they need to take down that guard. For instance, connect with them on social media — and solely so you can take a vested interest in them, not so they can take a vested interest in you.

The other tactic I talk about is starting all your one-on-ones with “Do you want to talk about life or do you want to talk about work?”

And 80% of the time, they want to talk about life. But it’s through that connection people can actually talk about real-life stuff and the work gets done. 


Millennials want autonomy

Chris: The number 2 thing is autonomy. 

In the research I did, I called up who Forbes called out as the number 1 boss for millennials and asked him what he thought about autonomy because I think it often gets misinterpreted.

He said: “Any time I get in front of my people, I tell them you, more than anyone else, have a house that’s worth protecting. And it’s up to you to protect this house.

“If there is a bad culture fit — it’s up to you to spit them out. If it’s unlimited free vacation — it’s up to you to actually cover for eachother. But I am giving you all the autonomy to actually protect this house.” 

So, that’s the first thing I ask corporations or their young people. 

Do you have a house that’s worth protecting?

And a lot of times… they don’t.

Millennials want transparency

What people mean often mean by transparency, is it what I call the two sides of transparency. 

You’ve got financial transparency, which is “Aw, man, I don’t want to tell everyone how much money everyone makes or what our profit margin is.” 

It’s not that. 

Or people go to the other side of the spectrum and they think it’s just vulnerability. Then they’re like, “I’m not going to cry in front of my people!”  

No, it’s not that either. 

Transparency is context. 

Put together the puzzle pieces of why you’re taking the actions that you are.

We hate admitting where we go wrong. If we lose a new business pitch or don’t get a sale, let’s dissect it and talk about what we did wrong.