USA Today did a great piece on the types of people skills leaders need in order to be successful (read the piece here). The article has some good, easy to implement tips on some small improvements to make on your people skills. The tips include making the employee feel more at ease, devoting all attention to them, and being empathetic. Yes, yes, and yes – couldn’t agree more.
All the tips listed are things that should be done with millennials. But the difference is that there is an additional goal. Millennials need to feel empowered to take what you’re teaching them and run. They need to feel like their voice is heard and you respect their perspective. Once you’ve demonstrated this, you’re golden, and a millennial will follow you anywhere you want to go.
Of all the tips, be fully present was probably my personal favorite. When I’m having a conversation with someone, I turn to them, look them in the eye, and show through my body language that I’m paying attention. I don’t understand people who can have conversations through cubicles without looking at each other! Even if I’m right next to someone, I always need eye contact.
The article specifically calls out young people as being underdeveloped in their face-to-face communications. Unfortunately, with the prevalence of texting and online communication, we’re pushing ourselves to always be multi-tasking. I think our generation needs a hybrid approach to communications, but one that is founded on eye contact. That’s the best way to instill confidence and demonstrate respect, and that’s the way we’ll really take direction and run.