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August 12, 2013
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March 17, 2014

I want to bring in the New Year by focusing your attention on the newest people in your organization. Specifically the challenge of how to communicate with millennials.

baby_new_yearYour leaders are older than your youngest hires. Sometimes a generation older. Your younger professionals, whether they you call them Generation Y or Millennials, tend to be less effective communicators, some would say.

That’s fine, they are not your leaders yet. You have time to help them communicate more effectively. But that’s not the principal problem. Your leaders have to communicate with them, and it’s more difficult to communicate with a poor communicators, because communication is a two-way street.

Cross the Street

In fact, let’s not call younger employees poorer communicators. Let’s be more objective and call them people who communicate in a different way.

Watch this short video to remind yourself just how different.

Does that make the challenges of communication appear more daunting? It really shouldn’t, because as a leader, you already know that you must adjust your communication style and delivery to the way your audience prefers to receive it. And you can do that.

In our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshops, we learn about and practice REAL communication. The first part of REAL Communication challenges you to Read, Reach, and then address the Real issue. Let’s apply that to the younger generation.

Reading Gen Y

Reading younger professionals requires you to understand where they’re coming from. They grew up with smartphones. Some leaders remember rotary phones and typewriters. What do these factors require you to do in response?

Your newer employees may need practice honing their interpersonal communication skills such as face-to-face negotiation and conflict resolution. They may have to develop presentation skills and learn how to build business relationships.

In the meantime, if you want to reach them and help them attain such skills, you have to reach them. To do so, consider a few of the following questions:

  • What drives and inspires this person?
  • What does what I am about to propose mean to them?
  • What is the underlying issue behind the topic at hand?
  • How can I best engage this younger person in dialogue?
  • What do I need to adjust in my approach in order to reach this person?
  • What choices do I have in responding to them?
  • What will drive this person to achieve the best result?

As a leader, your job is to understand the other person’s position, thoughts, and feelings as clearly and completely as possible. The purpose of communication in leadership is not to deliver the message you want to convey, but rather to realize the outcome you want to achieve.

You and your leaders can learn and practice all four elements of REAL Communication at our next CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Workshop. Or simply get in touch with me to talk about REAL Communication at or 972-608-0400.

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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.