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5 Leadership Tips for Millennials

Millennials often get a bad rep - they are lazy, are unable to save money and often still live with their parents. Although this may be true for some, I think that they are often misunderstood and for the most part they are dynamic, creative and have a greater sense of people.

Why do I think this, you might ask? Well, there are many reasons but for the sake of this article, I say so because they are often hired into leadership positions: leading others that are older than them, sometimes even three times as old! So, for those "lazy" Millennials who have found themselves into a leadership position, I offer the following five tips that will help you lay a solid foundation in your leadership journey.

#1: Be a Person of Integrity. Integrity is the absolute foundation of all relationships. If you don't have it, your leadership will crumble. Stephen Covey states that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. Besides this, you build integrity by being completely honest (tell the whole truth and spare the white lies), by being reliable, and by majoring in the small things - be to every meeting one time (doesn't matter that you are the leader and people won't question your lateness), do everything you commit to and all the things people assume you've committed to, and keep in confidence what is supposed to be in confidence.

#2: Raise Your Lid. Understand that right now there is a lid on your current ability to lead. Picture this as a number - between 1 to 10. Say, as a new leader, you've put yourself at a 6. Well, that is the max ability that you are going to be able to lead. Your business, team, and followers will only be able to grow to a 5, because you are the lid. I'm not talking about potential here, only your current performance. If you want greater success, raise the lid. Study, read, learn, join professional organizations; sleep less, watch less TV, spend less "chill" time on social media and focus on your development. Raise your lid so that you can raise the lid of your business, team and followers.

#3: Grow Every Day. Some people think that they can just read a book or join a course and suddenly they become an excellent leader. This is false! Growing takes time. John Maxwell, the number one leadership guru in the world, was once talking to a young man about his potential for leadership. He told the young man, "follow what I ask you to do and in 20 years you'll be an amazing leader." Twenty years! Face it, right now you're not good. I don't mean to offend anyone, but very few of you (and for that matter all people), have taken the efforts to learn the daily discipline of growth. Determine now what you will do each and every day to grow. The secret of anyone's success is found in their daily agenda.

#4: Give Up to Go Up. Some mistakenly believe that the higher up the ladder you go the more privileges you get and the easier life is. This is a myth. The higher you go up the more you must give up: your time, your hobbies, your rights, and to some degree your freedoms (think: "With great power comes great responsibility"). However, I don't like to think of this like a sacrifice, but rather a choice to give something up of little value (social media) for something of greater value (personal development).

#5: It is Not About You, it's About Them! In every interaction you have, speak less and listen more. Try to touch their heart, and the best way to do that is to be intensely interested in them. Ask questions, find out their passions, find out their challenges, learn about their personal lives. I like to use the acronym FORM - ask about their Family, Organization (job), Recreation and Mission (what drives them). Then...this is key...shut up and listen! Don't think about you, your response or even the next question, just listen. Do this and you'll see your understanding of people and your ability to influence others skyrocket!

So, there it is, five tips for becoming a better leader. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Jason Hunt is a certified trainer, speaker and coach who helps new and emerging leaders have early wins, to stand out as a connector and to have belief in themselves as leaders through passion, hard work, a positive attitude and John Maxwell's proven leadership principles.

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