To work effectively with millennials, managers must acknowledge emotions as a vital and legitimate component of leading and communicating with their younger employees, rather than merely regulating them.
Are you having a difficult time at work? It’s time to take a coffee break! As a baby boomer, I recall that when someone became emotional at IBM, we would have a coffee break to allow folks to cool down before returning to the topic at hand. Emotional outbursts were frowned upon. Sergeant Friday’s statement from Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts,” may ring familiar to older readers. The most successful strategy for coping with difficulties was a rational, emotionally detached attitude. By a long shot, facts trumped emotions. Emotions have become considerably more crucial to the workplace in the ensuing years. Facts and feelings are practically equal in the eyes of millennials. That is what we teach in university these days, which has been for a long time. As a result, we must also manage differently.
Leaders now, perhaps more than in the past, are seen as having the ability to inspire people and assist them in carrying out a strategy or innovation. While presenting at Karl’s MBA CEO Insights class, Mike Roach, the CEO of CGI, a worldwide IT outsourcer, delivered one of his favorite quotes: “Strategy without execution is an illusion.”
In today’s society, one of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to make a concept or vision a reality. Emotions are crucial for millennials in presenting that vision to the rest of us.
This gentle approach, which places a significant emphasis on emotions, isn’t new. According to military history, soldiers have always been willing to die for their colleagues, superiors, and even their country’s interests and societal values. Extreme bonding took place, bringing fighting units together in battle. In one of the most difficult work environments, if we can call it that, there was an outpouring of emotion. In the film Braveheart, a notable sequence demonstrates the value of emotion in this setting. Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, a commoner, unites the Scots in their endeavor to topple the English ruling class in the thirteenth century. Gibson offers a stirring speech, his face wrapped in blue war paint, motivating his followers to fight. While many troops know they may die, the scene’s emotion lends the weight to their deaths and draws the spectator in.
Emotion is important to millennials. They are taught a Postmodern worldview in high school and university, which places cognition and feeling on a roughly equal footing. They don’t rely on or interpret data only based on rational reasoning. Postmodern architecture, for example, represents the acceptance of the emotion. Architects “create buildings that reflect how people feel.” A company’s facility will most likely be open and airy, with many windows and social spaces, if it wants to create a casual, friendly vibe. Employees’ demands are meticulously catered to in the workplace.