Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Generation Next, are folks who are about twenty to thirty years old. So when I saw this article called, Introverted Leaders: The Right Mentors for Millennials, I figured there would be a lot of people who’d be interested in how we can apply it to our lives. After all, this is the age group that college coaches are working with. Check out the article, it’s got great info about introverts as leaders…I’m going to focus on motivating millennials.
4 tips that will help us coach millennials
- One-on-one interactions. According to the article, “when leaders take the time to converse with the millennials in their midst, they score points in building loyalty and trust.” That sounds like something we should invest time in! If we’re going to build teams that function well year after year, we should make sure we’re taking the time to chat with our players every day. I worked with a coach years ago who said it was his goal talk to each player while they were warming up for practice. However we do it, we should make sure we’re connecting with our players, it means a lot to them.
- Listening and asking great questions. Apparently, millennials have a “craving for continuous coaching and feedback.” This one piggy backs on point number one. They don’t want generic praise or interaction meant for the entire group, but rather specific coaching and correction meant just for them. Whether it’s email, texts, or face-to-face contact, I’m sure we can all commit to communicating with our players in the way they’d like to receive it.
- Preparation. This is the generation most likely to switch jobs many times in the course of their lives, some estimates say the typical millennial will have more than twenty five jobs! They are “hungry to take on new roles and responsibilities”, so it’s our job to make sure they’re engaged on our teams. I’m sure most of our athletes can spout off positive benefits of playing sports (time management, team oriented, etc.), but do they know they’re learning how to lead, how to manage different personalities, how to function within a particular role, and how win and lose with a measure of grace? We’ve got to tell them so they know they’re prepared for the “real world” once they leave college.
- Calm, reasoned reflection. Why is this important? This approach “offers a needed counterbalance to all the busyness and multitasking of Millennials.” Have you noticed how difficult it is for millennials to separate themselves from their phones? They can be “talking” to their friends while texting and think nothing of it…meanwhile I’m super offended when people don’t make eye contact with me when we’re talking! According to the article, we’ve got to show them the value in being present and focused. Our sports require those two things in order for our teams to succeed. Our players can’t be peeking in the stands while also trying to play at a high level.
To me, this is like having a millennials scouting report. Sure, we can play a game without one, but it will take us a lot longer to be successful. Now that we know how to make great connections with our players, let’s make sure we do it!