Have you ever heard of the plumber with the leaky tap ? It is the enigma that a person who fixes taps for a living never fixes the tap at home. This is what the Millennials are facing when working for some companies that rave about their “leadership” and “values” and the reason many are disillusioned with the world of business…..

Lots of negativity has been written about the millennials but they have their good points too. (Just like us all) By stating your values doesn’t mean you are “living” them. If your leadership tap is leaky, we can see it, you can see it, but we better not discuss it or we might end up without a job.

In my early 20’s I worked for a company that ran a dictatorship. The boss was the boss and everyone knew their position and knew where they stood. It was a little like the pecking order of the 1960’s family. Dad worked and he was the boss. Mum was in charge of the house and second in charge and pecking order of the kids ran in order of age. And if you did dare to question your father on “why” the answer was “Because I said so” Now I am not thinking we need to return to the 1960’s but one thing was sure everyone knew their role and what was expected.

Leadership is about what you do and how you behave when no one is watching. How you tackle difficult situations and lead with those values you have written up on the wall. The Millennials can see right through you and they are confused by the enigma of leadership when you have values that you are not living up too.

It’s the “dog walking test” We all know that we must as dog owners clean up after our dogs. Its only right that we do but if no one’s watching do you clean up after your dog ? Now only you know the answer to that question. Its the same in business as you have those shinny values written up there on your wall, on your website or even on your business card. When the chips are down, its a stressful situation and no ones really watching….are you behaving with those values ?

A leader leads by example not by force and these are the 5 habits of effective leaders:

  1. Vision
  2. Passion
  3. Walk the talk
  4. Communication
  5. Courage

If your values are a set and forget or just a page on your website do everyone including the millennials a favour – drop the act. In fact it is embarrassing for you because everyone can see it. Be comfortable with who you are and stop “trying” to be some idealistic version of something you think you need to be. OR something a marketer told you to become. A business is not a seperate entity it is the leader and the people within the business.

Millennials are smart and they are confused and disillusioned by incongruent business practices. And if you think you are still able to pull the wool over anyones eyes….just listen to your staff when you are not around.

They know they are just playing the game like you !

What do do next you might (secretly) ask?

Leadership programs do not need to be expensive or drain huge amounts of money from your training budget. Start with a small step and test what it can do for you, your staff and your market. An extended DISC profile and unpack is relatively low cost, low amount of time and offers great results.