July 2016 - Lessons Learned

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26 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE S hould leaders be concerned that tried and true leadership principles won't be as effective when dealing with younger team members? Most definitely. It is not hyper - bole to say that there has never been a time when developing new leadership principles has been more important. In fact, to employ the same methods that have been used for generations would be a grave mis- take for managers when dealing with millennial employees, par- ticularly those who are salespeople. Their expectations, experiences, and strengths are governed by a vastly different set of values from those of earlier generations. This does not mean their values are di- minished by comparison, though. In many respects they are much more evolved. At the center of the matter is something that famed author Patrick Lencioni wrote about in his book, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable." Specifically, it's what he refers to as the "dysfunction of trust." Generational differences have been the source of distrust throughout time, but they can be moderated through enlightened management. For example, if management insists on rigid adherence to the status quo and rejects new approaches, they are often expressing distrust in the ideas of the next generation, some- thing that can severely limit their potential for success. If they are to lead millennials effectively, execu- tives must understand and connect with them on several levels. Additionally, leadership that can build for the future possesses the ability to identify and tap "real" potential. Only the most conscien - tious executives will truly be able to uncover, recognize, and tap the potential often overlooked in the overly bureaucratic, politically cor- rect, and structured "old school" environments we frequently see in our industry. What Makes Millennials Different as Employees? I t really starts with their afore- mentioned values. This young group of professionals seems very concerned with things other than income alone, which has been the main driver for so many genera - tions in the past. Millennials have grown up at a time when all things seem possible—something they have witnessed and experi- enced daily thanks to technology, entertainment, and media accessi- bility. At the same time, they have seen global conflict that is also unprecedented and is extremely difficult to understand when compared to past conflicts. What has this meant to their develop - ment during their formative years? Many believe that this generation is more concerned with doing something right for the world rather than simply making a buck, but it is more than that. Millennials are very strong team players and are highly interested in making a difference in the organization's success. This is a significant departure from the past, when commissioned loan agents hopped from one company to the next whenever a competi - tor offered a better compensation carrot. Employers will do well to keep this in mind as they seek to inspire millennials to their high- est performance. SmartCEO magazine writes extensively on this idea and on managing millennials in general. A recent article was particu- larly revealing; one of its points was that if millennials believe a company's product will improve the quality of daily life for its users, then they will be espe- cially engaged in making a greater contribution to the end result in order to gain a sense of purpose in their work. Following that logic, lenders may want to stress the importance of the mortgage lending mission in a more mean - ingful context: helping people acquire homes that will enrich their lives and their financial futures. And while there is good money to be made in the process, Managing Millennials Why recruiting the right executives is key to next- generation success. By Rick Glass

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