In the second part of our blog on Maximising the Potential of the new generation of leaders, we will explore key traits of millennial potential and the tips to become a true coaching leader.

During our conversation with Henry Rose Lee, Inter-Generational Expert and TEDx Speaker, we came to the conclusion that, unfortunately, employee engagement is often seen as the role of a company’s human resources or talent management executives. To this end, we have often stated that unless the entire corporate culture is one that reflects the way employees are valued, no human resource manager will be able to sustain high levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

So how should you be going about maximising engagement of your colleagues?

First Off … Understand your cohort

Henry outlines three main characteristics that differentiate Gen Y from other generations in the workplace which you would do well to take into consideration when employing and leading millennials:

  • Sharing is caring: GenY are more open to share and compare salaries, commissions and remuneration structures. They expect to achieve more, quicker and interact on a professional basis as they do socially. Ambition is an objective so unless you want your dirty laundry hung out on the social media washing line, be sure to ensure your Gen Ys feel they have a career path worth speaking out for.
  • Modern day tribalism: Gen Y have external tribes on social media to which they showcase their workplace successes as well as dissensions. Strongly knit cohorts (sense of belonging & community) both online and off become spaces for them to seek reassurance and voice opinions they feel are repressed. If you create a tightly knit internal tribe, you are a long way ahead of the rest of the pack, but it doesn’t just stop there.
  • Referral junkies: Gen Y are influential in building the public perception of your company as a place of choice to work or, on the contrary, will influence others to leave (the tribal effect). If you value your ’employer brand’, then there is no better barometer as this generation.    

The sub-plot of the above is that millennial employees are requiring leadership to be clearer when providing information, whether it is about their job role, corporate culture or remuneration structure.  There is greater demand for openness and accessibility to leadership with the result varying from high levels of trust and loyalty to high levels of mistrust and attrition. This puts a lot of pressure on the corporate infrastructure to deliver on many more fronts than before, at a faster pace, and in a more relevant agile manner.

It is for this reason that we harp on about how ownership of this process is no longer one that is handled (solely) by the human resources department. Rather it SHOULD be part and parcel of the CEO’s and leadership’s team responsibility to set the way new employees integrate within the workplace.

Henry’s TOP Leadership Tip of the Day … Build Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (E-IQ) refers to the capacity to take immediate stock of the emotional wellbeing and state of those around us and act in a non-judgmental way towards them or the situation that is enveloping them.

The lack of E-IQ means we do not ‘waste’ time with tact, ‘find it hard to manage self-control or deal with conflict’ and, have little empathy with others’ emotional status. It is frequently mistook for maturity but is also a trait that one develops with age, but like maturity not everyone develops at the same pace or extent.

In workplaces where there is a distinctive generational divide, the disconnect is often one that relates to the inability of the two (or more) to understand the emotional standpoint the other is preaching from. While the younger generations at work are less tactful, more direct and, at times, matter of fact, older generations may lack the same self-control or tact when dealing with conflict or challenging situations that perpetuate an already fragile situation.

However, it is not all doom and gloom and the future is bright!

Why you ask, well, first off, like maturity, E-IQ develops with age. The older we get, the more experiences we go through, the more we take in from our environment, the better we get at controlling our emotional responses and dealing with those of others.

Secondly, and here goes the subtle pitch, E-IQ can be sharpened through coaching and training. BOOM!

On the job coaching through mentoring or a formal coaching programme is a very effective and relevant way of building E-IQ. As part of the former type try reverse mentoring; allow younger employees show you their ‘world’, it helps build confidence, affinity to the workplace and rewards their own interests not just those of the company. There are also many way to develop the latter type, but it is not as straight forward and ‘easy’ as one may anticipate.

Often we see coaching programmes developed to ‘tick the right boxes’ in the employee engagement surveys, but actually pay little attention to the personal developmental needs within this context. Coaching is not training, so be aware of why you are offering a developmental programme, how you are going to deliver it, and to whom. No individual is the same, so no development path can be the same too.

Back to E-IQ then.

Henry adds that getting to grips with E-IQ can enhance our “resilience, tactical & empathic thinking, packaging of messages and being drawn to enabling structure, stability and strategy”. It improves our coping mechanisms, including problem-solving, critical thinking and personal/professional relationships.

Assisting your employees to develop their E-IQ could be one of the most rewarding endeavours you embarked on. Not only will your work environment benefit, but your business will also profit.

If you have any thoughts on how to nurture emotional intelligence in your workforce or would like to explore E-IQ further, book your FREE time with us here because, as Carl W. Buehner quips, “they may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel”.