Whether you’re scrolling through Twitter, cleaning out your inbox, or just topping off your coffee at the office Keurig station, you’re susceptible to getting an earful on the latest in Millennial news. “Millennials are destroying the napkin industry,” “Millennials are too lazy to eat cereal,” or “Millennials could be homeowners if they stopped eating avocado toast.”
Everywhere you look, there’s something new and exhaustingly negative about this young generation. All this damaging coverage is contributing to one of the biggest challenges in the workplace today: Millennial fatigue.
People are getting burned out on the topic of Millennials. All the unfavorable (and usually click-bait-y) coverage is reinforcing popular Millennial stereotypes around entitlement and laziness. These stereotypes are being normalized and accepted as fact, and many people are ready to move on to the next “it” group. But this isn’t a challenge you can just brush under the rug and avoid. Millennials already make up a majority of the current workforce, and judging by the daily frustrated sighs and “I just don’t get them” comments, other generations still don’t have a good grasp on how to work with them.
Fortunately, some straightforward generational therapy can provide relief. By curing yourself of Millennial fatigue, you’ll not only ease symptoms of boredom, impatience, and disdain, but will earn the pleasant side-effect of improved workplace efficiency, easier working relationships with Millennials, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come to appreciate the incredible strengths that Millennial employees can bring to the table.
#1 – Actively seek generational understanding.
Mocking Millennial work ethic and participation trophies might offer a chuckle, but it’s harmful to all parties involved. You’re digging a grave of cognitive dissonance with no hope of improving Millennial relationships, and the “self-esteem” generation will continue to view itself in an increasingly negative and dissociative light. Instead, equip the strategic problem-solving helm that got you to where you are today. Seek information that answers the “why” and reflects on solutions. Strive to understand generational traits, values, and workstyles.
#2 – Weed out the trolls
There is no shortage of Millennial articles hastily written by someone in serious need of a vent session. Whether they’re fixating on negativity, making sweeping statements, or simply recounting a personal experience with one young employee, those articles are no good for your quest for generational understanding. Instead, prowl the web for unbiased writing that builds a story around statistics and avoids negativity just for negativity’s sake. Every generation has a set of both strengths and weaknesses, but the key is to learn to leverage the good stuff for effective communication and relationship building.
#3 – Talk to a real, living, breathing Millennial.
They don’t bite. While studying the masses is beneficial in crafting sustainable, broad-reaching management strategies, sometimes you just need to sit down and talk with a real-life, living, breathing individual. Generational theory is important for that foundational awareness, but topping it off with personal connection and conversation is key to a healthy working relationship. Take a moment to connect with your Millennial coworker/employee and ask questions with the objective to understand them better. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.
By taking these steps and building a fuller picture of the Millennial generation, you can help stymie Millennial fatigue for yourself and maybe even set an example for others. And here’s the kicker: these three tips are applicable to remedying your perspective and relationships with all generations. If you’re a Millennial struggling with a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer trying to figure out a Gen Edger, following these steps can help you too. It’s as simple as one, two, three.