Women’s Leadership Tips and Success Strategies
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Women leaders significantly elevate a company’s bottom line.
Research shows that companies are more profitable when:
Organizations with more women in leadership positions also benefit from higher levels of EQ (emotional intelligence), conversational intelligence, and other relationship and people skills related to successful team building, consumer satisfaction, brand loyalty and social responsibility.
In spite of proven advantages of increased female leadership, women in leadership positions struggle with many challenges. These include confidence issues and corporate failure to value women’s leadership styles that prioritize transparency, healthy relationships, empathy, consensus building, inclusiveness, and open communication. There are proven solutions to every challenge women leaders face.
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Performance and financial data clearly support the need to increase women’s leadership roles. Do you want to join the community of empowered women across the world embracing leadership positions of all types for The Greater Good?
Research shows you’ll be much more successful and happier when you lead with your beautiful feminine intuition and heart, while employing your planning and other strategic skills. This is true even if you are in a male-dominated industry. Everyone will benefit from your personal empowerment.
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As discussed in the article, ”Millennial Management Mistakes and Remedies”, a majority of leaders are uneasy about challenges engaging and retaining employees who are part of Generation Y (Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995). That article shared proven ways women leaders can improve Millennial job satisfaction, engagement and retention.
This article addresses a very different set of challenges coaching and leading Millennials. Every strategy I suggest has been proven effective. The techniques work because they are consistent with the way Generation Y tends to think and act. I’ll also help you discover and effectively channel specific strengths of the majority of Millennials.
This topic is increasingly important for women leaders at all levels because Generation Y will comprise 40% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Please understand it’s not only critical that you’re able to lead and coach Millennial employees, you must also be able to recruit, train and coach members of Generation Y to serve in leadership positions.
A first step is to better understand and support this vast group of employees and potential leaders. Because today’s business and global problems require the most talented personnel and approaches, we desperately need to cooperatively and creatively design productive work environments for all generations.
Millennial Management Red Flag: Leadership Resistance to Change, Innovation and Creativity
Every Millennial I’ve coached during the past two decades has lived in a complex, uncertain, consistently changing world since they were born. They have repeatedly been cautioned that the world is dangerous and the planet that supports their life is in peril. For many reasons, Generation Y expects change and complexity.
Even though this generation must handle uncertainty like a touchstone in their busy lives, Millennials are often criticized and stereotyped for having “unrealistic confidence”, feeling entitled, burying themselves in technology and failing to develop people skills.
Although it’s true that parents of some Millennials’ coddled their kids during the self-esteem movement when every kid received a blue ribbon for showing up at a competition, we need to address some myths:
- Being a Millennial doesn’t predict feeling either overwhelmed or overly confident by the harsh realities of today’s business world. Generation Y’s life circumstances conditioned them to assume technology can solve many problems. I wholeheartedly disagree with claims that Millennials are narcissistic and presumptions that members of Gen Y think they’re entitled to special treatment. Instead, I applaud Millennials for optimistically searching for solutions.
- Although many Gen Ys would prefer to resolve interpersonal issues using technology instead of engaging in one-to-one conversations, most Millennials sincerely want to improve any hesitancy to resolve interpersonal conflicts in straightforward ways. Gen Ys often say, “Sure, we did a lot of so-called team projects in school, but technology was the real collaborator, not the kids. Now we have to learn more about face-to-face communication.” Millennials are often painfully aware that inadequate people skills create problems at work. Become the leader they can trust to help them prevent and resolve communication glitches, gaffes and emotional bruises. You’ll be valued and rewarded with respect and loyalty.
- Millennials are accustomed to progressing through projects at the speed of good technology. Beginning at young ages, they accessed information from around the world with simple clicks. Western culture not only taught Generation Ys to crave purposeful, meaningful tasks, the majority of Millennials expect substantive work earlier in their careers. Many cannot fathom why Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, when entering the work force, agreed to begin their work life performing low level tasks like filing, sweeping floors and bagging groceries. Regardless of their entry level, many Millennials expect to be promoted as rapidly as possible. The most successful women leaders help Millennials identify and compensate for their weaknesses so they can lead with their strengths.
- Since technologies significantly influenced the wiring of the Millennial brain during a critical human development stage, Generation X and Baby Boomer leaders should stop wasting energy trying to restructure a Generation Y brain that is designed to multi-task. Instead of focusing only on what can go wrong, such as a lack of concentration, savvy older leaders can prevent problems while recognizing how the unique abilities of Millennials can be productively channeled with smart, supportive leadership.
The bottom line is that Millennials expect consistent change. They grew up in a nonlinear world, so they naturally tend to be innovative. Since we know Gen Y also prefers to design creative solutions as part of a team, one winning strategy is to design the collaborative, entrepreneurial environment they need in order to do their best work. This often includes shifting a traditional hierarchy and conventional hours to flexible schedules with accountability.
The first generation to grew up in a fully digital world, Millennials have blurred the lines between home and work. As Millennials often say, “We’ll get our work done and we’ll leverage technology to do it. It shouldn’t matter when we work, only that we do good work and accomplish our jobs.”
Most Generation Ys believe anything is possible in the right environment, as long as leaders employ a solution-focused approach. As evidence, many Millennials point to the fact that, in the most productive companies, hierarchies and bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, collaborative teams and networks. Millennials tend to be big-picture thinkers. If they think leadership is lost in the small details of a project, you’ll fail to engage their best efforts.
Smart Women Leaders Coach Millennials to Avoid Unnecessary Mistakes
Most Millennials aren’t perfectionistic or afraid to make mistakes. For many Gen Ys, this is socially conditioned behavior. As kids and as young adults, Millennials spent hours at a time playing video games in which they leaped from one imaginary battle to the next, failing more often than winning.
Even though Millennials have been programmed by technology and the uncertainty of today’s world to expect setbacks and challenges, many Baby Boomer and Gen X leaders criticize Gen Ys for plunging into new endeavors without adequate planning, “They expect to make one mistake after another until they eventually succeed.” Older leaders can earn Generation Y’s loyalty and empower this next generation of leaders in many ways, including the following.
- Admire their tenacity and their courage to search for new ways to solve thorny problems.
- Help Millennials discover how to anticipate potential pitfalls, so they can avoid impulsively jumping from one approach to the next, wasting their time, energy and other resources.
Compassionate, savvy women leaders help Millennials mine the gold nuggets hidden within temporary failures. They also coach Gen Y to discover how to elevate their confidence and success with a reasoned, thoughtful approach.
Elevate Your Leadership Success When You Coach and Lead Millennial Employees
Women’s Leadership Coaching helps female leaders at all levels:
- enhance Millennial job satisfaction, engagement and retention
- recruit, train and coach members of Generation Y to serve in leadership positions.
Click here now to discover proven leadership tools so you can build winning teams that include employees in all generations.
© 2019 Doris Helge, Ph.D. as interviewed on “The Today Show,” CNN and NPR. Certified Master Leadership and Executive Coach Doris Helge is author of bestselling books, including “Joy on the Job,” Doris has helped hundreds of leaders like you meet every challenge you’re facing. Click here now to sign up for your complimentary Leadership Coaching Consultation.
A previous article began the discussion about why most Millennials aren’t attracted to Leadership positions and the reasons this has created a serious leadership gap. If women leaders want to attract and retain the best and brightest Millennials to their leadership teams, it’s essential to understand Generation Y’s needs and address the Core Career Requirements outlined in that article.
Women leaders are keenly aware of this. Here are examples of comments by some of my Women’s Leadership Coaching clients.
- “Millennials don’t respond to the perks we’ve always offered to Baby Boomers and Generation X when we recruited them to leadership positions. I need to understand them better. What motivates them?”
- “I don’t understand how Millennial brains are hardwired. They say they don’t want to manage other people, but they want a good income so they can enjoy foreign travel vacations and other expensive experiences.”
- “We have to figure out what Generation Y really wants because we’re failing to engage them in leadership. We desperately need their natural technology skills, but some Millennials are content working in the gig economy instead of choosing a stable organization.”
- “Millennials lack the company loyalty required to become leaders in our organization. They’re also too impatient to climb the corporate ladder to prove themselves. Some of them expect to begin at levels some of our top managers took decades to rise to.”
- “Instead of labeling the Millennial generation Generation Y, they should have called it Generation Why. It frustrates me to have to answer so many questions about WHY a specific job requires certain tasks. I understand that all of us work best when we can clearly see that our jobs and tasks are meaningful, but, unlike Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, many Millennials will quit if a job doesn’t ooze of a higher purpose. They don’t understand that some jobs just need to be done. I read that about 25% of Millennials are still accepting financial assistance from their parents, so they have more choices than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers had at that age.”
- “I’ve managed employees for decades. Baby Boomers and Generation X understood that work is work. Generation Y becomes exhausted and says they’re at risk of burnout pretty easily. Work-life balance seems to be the Millennial mantra. I would expect to hear an older worker complain about burnout, but Millennials will sacrifice a good job just to prove they’re not going to follow in the footsteps of their stressed-out parents.”
I cannot over-emphasize how important it is to engage Millennials in leadership. Here are just a few reasons.
- Companies have changed so dramatically during recent decades that Millennials’ ease with technology and their interest in connecting with other people globally to solve significant problems are basic needs of most organizations.
- Since they were born, Millennials have lived in a world of constant change, hearing about critical challenges, including climate change. When Gen Ys are in a supportive environment, they thrive with an urgent sense of purpose instead of wringing their hands or expecting situations to improve without intervention. Millennials have an innate hunger for knowledge and believe positive change is possible. They’re hardwired to search for solutions and they use technologies in innovative ways.
- A majority of Gen Y sincerely wants the world to become a better place because they live here.
- There is a serious leadership gap because more and more Baby Boomers retire every month and Generation X is a smaller employee group. (It’s only about 75% the size of Generation Y.) Millennials, already over 30% of the workforce and growing to about 40% within a few years, are clearly next in line for leadership positions. Most organizations sincerely need their numbers, their innovative, can-do spirit, technology skills, etc.
Studies by a variety of well-respected groups, including ManpowerGroup, show that fewer than 10% of Millennials want to be leaders or to manage other people. Even Gen Ys who are interested in leadership often turn down offers for one or more of the following reasons.
- They haven’t received leadership training or it has been woefully inadequate.
- They cannot envision themselves as leaders. This is sometimes related to a lack of confidence.
- Poor role models have produced a common Gen Y belief that a leadership position cannot be a vehicle for creating a positive impact. A study by Future Workplace reported that, at least one-third of the time, leadership failed to adequately communicate potential benefits of serving as a leader to Millennials.
- Gen Y often feels alienated from other generations. Many Baby Boomers and Gen X leaders don’t want to mentor Millennials.
- Many members of Gen Y are hesitant to coach older employees (Baby Boomers and Gen Xers). This is sometimes associated with a lack of confidence. Often, it is related to growing up with Baby Boomer or Gen Xer parents who consistently questioned their abilities or criticized them, making Millennials fear the rejection of older employees.
- In addition to fearing the rebuff of older employees, Millennials often fear rejection by their peers. It’s usually difficult to break free from misunderstandings and insecurities about management when one’s colleagues hold similar beliefs.
- Millennials, the most-well-connected generation, are well aware they are the most maligned generation in the workforce. Workfront published a report stating that Baby Boomers and Generation X label Generation Y as the “least cooperative generation, the least likely to take responsibility and the biggest complainers.”
- I’m not surprised when many Millennials I coach say they fear criticism will increase if they try to advance to a leadership position.
- There are other disincentives regarding Gen Ys considering applying to be leaders. Millennials who have done their best to embrace leadership positions tell Millennial friends and co-workers that their leadership skills aren’t being fully developed or supported by the company that employs them. According to a Deloitte survey, 63% of Millennials interviewed said their employers aren’t helping them fully develop their leadership skills.
Discover Proven Solutions That Will Ensure Your Leadership Success
Other articles in this Women’s Leadership Coaching series provide validated solutions to the current gap in leadership (too few Millennials are interested, plus Gen Ys are difficult to retain as managers). Read those articles to discover proven ways to attract and retain Millennials in leadership positions so you can build winning teams and elevate your success as a female leader. You’ll also explore how to avoid the most common Millennial management mistakes.
© 2019 Doris Helge, Ph.D. as interviewed on “The Today Show,” CNN and NPR. Certified Master Leadership and Executive Coach Doris Helge is author of bestselling books, including “Joy on the Job,” Doris has helped hundreds of leaders like you meet every challenge you’re facing. Click here to sign up for your complimentary Leadership Coaching Consultation.