Employing Millennials – Leadership & Time
Despite raising three daughters – two of whom are Millennials and one a Gen Z, I remain perplexed about how to lead team members from these age groups in my law firm. Much has been written about Millennial attitudes and expectations, but in my experience, people are still individuals, with their own unique set of wants and needs.
At the same time, there’s definitely something different about them generationally. I was born during the last year of the baby boom, 1964. My generation’s work/life unbalance is generally frowned upon and happens to be one of the lynchpins driving people to my Freedom Practice program. People of all generations want more freedoms in their lives, whether it’s time, money, relationships, or purpose.
Yet there’s a time for everything, right? Leading a law practice takes special skills. Twenty-five years ago, those skills were something different than the skills required today. Each leader is a function of the age – yet there are certain timeless truths about leadership.
A leader must have courage and integrity. He or she must relate to each individual according to his or her distinctive needs. Above all, a leader must constantly learn. But these are necessary, not sufficient, conditions.
A leader must be sensitive to the call of the hour – this hour and this generation. And because we are of a specific generation, even the greatest leader cannot intuitively understand the challenges of leading a different generation. That is not a failing, it is the existential condition of humanity. But you can adapt.
As an example, consider workers from 25 or 30 years ago. The senior partner ordered staff to complete tasks without explanation. And they did it. Oftentimes without question. Because that’s the way things were. That’s how I was as a young associate attorney.
Contrast this with today. Staff members respond better when they are educated on why they’re instructed to do something. They must be informed, instructed, taught. If a leader fails in this mission, the team will not learn to take responsibility. They respond not to power but to knowledge and persuasion.
Leaders who only know how to demand action will find the success of their firm wane as their baby boom staff march into retirement.
That’s why it’s so important for leaders to realize they’re leading a different type of team than the one of several years ago, and why continuing education is important for everyone, not just attorneys to satisfy CLE requirements.
To Your Bigger Future,
Craig R. Hersch
Florida Bar Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney
Senior Partner, The Sheppard Law Firm
Founder, The Freedom Practice®
PS– ONE tuition pays for TWO individuals from your law firm at our Practice Xcelerator Event! We offer this purposefully because it’s so important that your team understands why you want to implement the ideas generated during our two days together! Click here to schedule a call with Maria Reimer