How to Lead a Team of Millennials and Gen Zs

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How to Lead a Team of Millennials and Gen Zs

How to Lead a Team of Millennials and Gen Zs with Sean Si

Sean: Hey, guys! Welcome back. It’s your boy, Sean here from the Leadership Stack team. Thank you so much for tuning in. For today, we have a special episode for you. How do you lead a team of Millennials and Gen Zs?

Sean: And I’m a millennial and I lead a team full of Millennials and Gen Zs at SEO Hacker. I think we do have a couple of Gen Xers. Why is this topic important? Here’s the deal.

Sean: A lot of companies today say that the worst generations to have in your organization are Millennials, and then Gen Zs because of how entitled they are, how rowdy they are, how unloyal they are in terms of their career stint – they spend just one to two years and then they hop jobs. They’re very opinionated, they’re very vocal about what they believe in.

Sean: Now, it does sound like it makes for a very tough team when your company is full of Millennials and Gen Zs. But at SEO Hacker, we don’t find this to be true. And here is how we have been able to make SEO Hacker a very, very good place for Millennials and Gen Zs.

Sean: Again, me being a Millennial myself at 33 years old, I also wanted a company that is suited for how I personally work. And here are some of the things. I have five points today. No big deal. That’s five points. These are the things that I find work the best for, at least for me and the SEO Hacker team.

Sean: The first point in how to handle and grow and lead Millennials and Gen Zs is make sure that you have a desired future with them and you share that with them.

Sean: You see, Millennials and Gen Zs, we grew up with parents who keep telling us that we can do whatever we want, we can help shape the world or we can change the world to be a better place.

Sean: And we grew up with ideals, with movies that are very aspirational, that are very idealistic, that have heroes and heroines, and it’s a very different upbringing for Millennials and Gen Zs. And so we grew up and woke up in the marketplace, in the workspace, thinking that we can make a change and make the world a better place.

Sean: We actually believe that to our core, compared to Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, where they’re very practical. And for them this world is what it is. Things are what they are. Just fit in. Do your job. Keep your head low and things will work out okay. Millennials and Gen Zs are not like that at all.

Sean: So as a leader, what I do is I make sure to cast the vision with my people. And whenever I have evaluations with them where I can speak to them as a team or as individuals, I make sure to ask people:

Sean: What’s your desired future? What are your goals? What’s your vision for yourself here in SEO Hacker? How do you see yourself in the future? Do you see yourself leading a team? Do you see yourself growing in this position, in this area of the business?

Sean: I always make sure to ask these questions, because a desired future is very important for Millennials and Gen Z individuals. Also make sure to remind them about the vision of the company as a whole. And this is why at SEO Hacker, we make it a point to recite our mission and vision statements every week.

Sean: That’s because it’s so easy to forget what the company stands for. And you also have to share this vision with the rest of your team, with the rest of your Millennials and Gen Zs in the team so that they know this is where we’re all going now. How does myself, how does my vision and my dreams fit into that bigger vision of the company?

Sean: And it’s so important because if you don’t share that vision, the company’s vision, to your individual team members, they’re just going to be looking at their own dreams and visions. And they’re going to leave that direction where they’re going to be segwaying from that direction, where you and the entire company is going, and they’re going to be left out. So you want to be inclusive of every Millennial and every Gen Zier that you have.

Sean: So I’m going to be tying this to our second point, which is, get only Millennials and Gen Ziers that are actually aligned to your culture.

Sean: When people are aligned to your culture, the moment that they enter your organization and become a part of your team, officially, it’s so easy for them to buy into your vision and to lock their vision and their dreams with yours, because they fit in the culture. They feel like they’re at home. And finding home in the marketplace today is an extremely difficult thing to do.

Sean: So you can do this by making sure you hire slow and fire fast. And what I mean is you really intentionally weed out people during the hiring process. At SEO Hacker, we hire a lot of people. We open the positions and get a lot of people applying into that position, because we have a very long and very robust hiring process.

Sean: And we eliminate 95% of the applicants and we only accept somewhere one to five percent of the applicants. And that is how careful we are with letting applicants into our organization. We choose the ones who are of course competent, that is a given.

Sean: All companies only hire competent people. Who would ever want to hire incompetent individuals? We only hire competent people, so competency is a given. But we weed out people mostly for whether they fit well into our culture or not, because if they fit well in your company culture they will buy into your vision.

Sean: The third point for today that you need to practice if you’re going to be leading a team of Millennials and Gen Ziers effectively, is you got to learn more about them. You have to invest time with them. Look at them as individuals, as people.

Sean: At the get go in the interview process. I make sure that there are notes that are left by my HR, by the team leader, by my CIO and by my GM. And these notes are very important to me, because that is where I know this individual has this parent working here, has that parent working there, or the parent is an OFW or this parent has passed away.

Sean: That is how I know that they have X number of siblings and their siblings are working in this country and their siblings are working in this industry. That’s where I know where they graduated college and whether they did well or not. That’s how I know what other people think about them, because we did call the reference numbers. We did check up on whether this individual has a lot of good people surrounding them saying good things about them.

Sean: So I get to know the person coming in my team at the very beginning of our relationship. During the hiring process, I learned so many things about this individual already. And over the course of our working relationship, I make it a point to learn more about the individuals working with me whenever we meet, whenever we have one on one conversations, whenever we have evaluations.

Sean: I asked them how they are. I asked them how their family is doing. I asked them if there is anything I can do for them. How are their dreams going along? Are they moving towards their dream life? How do I play into that? Treat people as individuals, not as cogs in a big machine.

Sean: And this is going to tie up in my fourth point is, be authentic.

Sean: As a leader, if you’re a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer, you don’t need to be someone who’s cool for other people. You don’t need to be someone else to pretend that you’re part of the team, part of the crowd. You’re an in person, they should include you. You like pop culture when you really don’t.

Sean: Don’t pretend. Just be authentic. Be who you are. Millennials and Gen Ziers can smell a fake a mile away. They just have that internal discernment and ability to know when someone’s faking it, and that is the last thing you’re going to be wanting to do.

Sean: Because the moment that they smell you’re faking it, you lose all authority, you lose all of your credibility. They’re going to trust you a lot less. They’re going to respect you a lot less as their leaders.

Sean: And lastly, my fifth point, but this may be my most important point today is, teach them. Teach them. Teach your Millennials. Teach your Gen Ziers. Teach them intentionally.

Sean: This is the gaming generation. I’m a Millennial. I woke up to the fact that there was a family computer, there was a Super Nintendo, and I would game a lot of my days away. And learning, especially self-taught learning and leadership and good soft skills, have been thrown out the window for the most part of the life of a Millennial and a Gen Zier. So what you can do is teach them.

Sean: To add to that point, a lot of Millennials and Gen Ziers come from broken families or dysfunctional families. We do have the saying that every family has a problem, but there are some individuals who win the jackpot when it comes to family. They have really good parents, really good siblings. They grow up very well.

Sean: But a lot, maybe 90% of people in our world today, especially Millennials and Gen Ziers, come from troubled families. And one thing you can do that would largely impact their life is intentionally teach them. Teach them what you know.

Sean: When you are growing yourself and learning from other people, from books, podcasts, this YouTube video, mentors, webinars or seminars, you learn a lot, you grow yourself, you get a lot of feeding, you get out of growth. Pass that value onto your Millennials and Gen Ziers in the team. They will thank you for it, they will look up to you for it and you will be one of the authorities of their lives.

Sean: Leading Millennials and Gen Zs is not difficult and it’s not complicated. All you need to do is be yourself, be intentional about teaching them and helping them. Be a father, a mother to them. Care about them, love them and you will earn their loyalty, their trust and respect, and they will be able to help you along the way.

Sean: I have to give a disclaimer here: Not all Millennials and Gen Zs will react in a way that you expect. There are going to be some people that are going to be difficult for you. They’re not going to be who you expect them to be. They’re not going to be grateful no matter what you do for them, what good you do in their life. Their sense of gratitude would be very shallow.

Sean: I wrote about this in my blog, You might want to check that out. There are some people who have shallow depth of gratitude and you can’t do anything about that. Because how you’re going to know if you got a good Millennial and a good Gen Z that you can lead and groom and finally allow them to take the reins of your business or of your team is you have to keep trying. You have to keep loving them. You have to keep being authentic.

Sean: If you’ve become tired and throw in the towel and say, “I have been burned too many times by these people who are so difficult, by these people who are not grateful for what I’ve been able to do for them and give to their lives.” If you throw in the towel and give up, then at the end of it all, you’re going to lose, because there are good people in this world. There are good Millennials and there are good Gen Ziers, and they’re going to be going to those people who will not give up on them.

Sean: I hope you learned from this episode and before I wrap things up, I do have a challenge for you. And the challenge is: If you are a person who are leading Millennials and Gen Ziers in your team, my challenge for you is, this week, this next five to seven days, depending on your workweek, teach them three new things that you learned from this podcast, from another podcast, from a webinar, from a mentor. Teach them three new things that will add value to their life.

Sean: If this podcast has helped you out, please do hit that subscribe button, the like button and the bell notification icon, so that you can be notified whenever we have a new episode.

Sean: And if you’re tuning in on Spotify, please hit the follow button as well and share this episode with a friend or two who will be able to benefit from it. That means a lot.

Sean: I hope you enjoy this episode and I will see you in the next one.

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