Three Valuable Lessons I Learned From My Top-Performing Millennial Employees
I’ve written extensively about the role of Millennials in the workplace, and how I believe they’re flattening the traditional performance curve.
As a borderline Millennial myself, I’ve been critical of my generation’s general lack of EQ in the workplace and sense of entitlement. However, this is by no means a trait shared by every young professional.
In fact, through a lot of trial and error, I’ve managed to recruit some of the highest-performing young professionals out there to come and join the BodeTree family.
They’ve undoubtedly learned a lot from working as part of the team, but the knowledge exchange has been far from one-sided. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about the nature of building lasting relationships from observing some of our least experienced team members.
The importance of being earnest
Our society is obsessed with maintaining a facade of strength. We tend to feel as though we have to put up defenses, feign disinterest, and play hardball to be taken seriously.
What we forget, however, is the importance of being earnest.
I was reminded of this recently when I restructured the franchise development team that leads our VelocityFD product offering.
A lot of the sales professionals I’ve worked with try and play it cool, thinking that looking too excited is a sign of weakness.
However, one of my most promising young sales professionals recently pulled me aside to discuss his goals and aspirations for the year. He was, above all else, incredibly earnest about what he wanted and what he was going to do to achieve it.
It was an incredibly refreshing conversation, and it reminded me of what I did when I was first starting out.
The talk served as a reminder of an incredibly valuable lesson: don’t be afraid to be enthusiastic. Success belongs to those who are willing to go out and ask for it.
Keep it classy
Another great example came to me recently when one young team member decided to pursue work in a different industry.
Her departure was a disappointment because she was always responsive, hard-working, and dependable. I very much wanted her to remain part of the team, but ultimately she just wasn’t passionate about our industry.
Instead of just riding off into the sunset never to be heard from again, she showed back up at the office about two weeks after resigning to hand out personalized thank-you notes to the entire team.
The notes were heartfelt and thanked people for the experience, opportunity, and support.
It was a classy move and one that made me mourn her departure even more. It spoke to her character and reminded me that it is the little gestures that often have the most significant impact.
With one simple action, she cemented herself as a genuine, trustworthy, and emotionally intelligent individual who has earned my lasting respect.
Go the extra mile
The last example comes from my technology team. Developers, by and large, get a bad rap in my opinion. They’re often stereotyped as insular, isolated, and temperamental.
My team, which is comprised almost exclusively of people in their mid-twenties, defies that stereotype.
I’ve been amazed by their willingness to always go the extra mile, not because they think it will benefit them to do so, but rather because it’s just the right thing to do.
That sort of genuine interest in the well being of the company as a whole is increasingly rare.
As a company, we’re running in a thousand different directions at the moment. We have multiple products under development, new lines of business opening up, and more activity than we’re are accustomed to handling.
However, despite all of this, my team still manages to fit in all of the extra requests I come up with at all hours of the night.
Their behavior reminds me of some advice my dad once gave me: “Always be the easiest to work with.”
I know they have both my (and the organization as a whole) back, even when times are hard. They’re consistently the easiest to work with, and that goes a long way in business.
Hope for the future
My young team members give me a lot of hope for the future of both my company and business in general.
As leaders, we need to keep our eyes wide open and remember that when Millennials are good, they’re great.
We might have a few years on them, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from the examples they set.