Although every generation tends to trash talk the generations that come after it, the millennial generation is the butt of so many misconceptions, jokes, and stereotypes that it’s hard to imagine how they can ever hope to prove themselves. Understanding is the watchword when it comes to understanding anyone different, however, which is why today’s managers, business owners, and entrepreneurs should go out of their way to familiarize themselves with the truth about millennials. This a bright, enthusiastic, and passionate generation, so learning more about them might just surprise you.
Millennials Are Inquisitive, Not Arrogant
Because millennials have a tendency to question things, they’re seen as arrogant know-it-alls. In reality, the generation simply resists the status quo that states you have to blindly believe everything. When given a task at work, they will ask why so they can understand it better. Tell them they cannot do something and they will make you explain why that is. Call them out for something and they will ask why so they can improve themselves and fix their mistakes.
Millennials Value Contentment Over Cash
Image via Flickr by ITU Pictures
That is, they prefer personal fulfillment over any kind of financial reward. This is a generation that longs to afford a studio apartment or a tiny house. They want to buy groceries, pay their bills, and pay their dues. They don’t care about becoming rich overnight. They aren’t greedy or money-grubbing, as some stereotypes suggest. They want to afford the necessities — and to that end, it’s worthwhile to remember that this is the next generation of consumers and employees. It pays — literally — to understand them.
They Prefer Constructive Criticism to Undeserved Praise
People love to joke that the millennial generation is the generation of children who received participation trophies. What they fail to realize, however, is that no millennial asked for a participation trophy. We received them from our elders. The truth is that millennials have no interest in praise they don’t deserve. They do appreciate constructive criticism, though. Their need for feedback is based not on narcissism, but on a drive to always do better. Millennials want to improve themselves, they don’t want a pat on the back that they didn’t earn.
Millennials Are Brave
It’s true. This generation is courageous and strong. Trophies aside, they’ve been raised to believe they truly can do anything — if they work for it. They’ve learned that bravery reaps the richest rewards. They are not afraid to take risks, which also makes them extraordinarily entrepreneurial. They are creative and they’re willing to use that creativity to better their little slice of the world. That’s another reason why today’s bosses, managers, and business owners should take the time to understand the millennial generation a bit more.
It’s a mistake to think that millennials have nothing to offer when the truth is that they have everything to offer the consumer industry and the workforce. These are the people who will buy from you, sell to you, and work for you, so knowing where they come from, what they want, and what they believe is imperative.