Millenials and Decision-Making: How They Differ & What To Do About It

There is much talk about millenials and their need for feedback, flexibility and purpose. What about their decision-making style? This may be the “silver bullet” at the base of much tension between themselves and management. There is an apparent lack of decision-making skills which must be addressed. Why is decision-making difficult for millenials and how can older leaders develop their younger managers into the leaders of tomorrow?

What are some of the hiccups millenials have when making decisions?

  1. Millenials have trouble narrowing their choices. Giving millenials every possibility in life from after school activities to their colleges and careers has resulted in them sometimes making no choice at all. It is difficult to choose (and takes longer) when there are seemingly unlimited options. Choosing between 5 movies on a plane is easier than hundreds on Netflix.
  2. Millenials don’t have much practice making decisions because of the helicopter parenting style of their moms and dads. Millenials didn’t have much “down time” when they were in charge of making their own decisions. Playdates, activities, food, and clothes were all chosen for them to give them a life that was “better” than what their parents’ thought they experienced.
  3. Millenials have too much access to information. When asked to research something and make a decision, the amount of information easily available to millennials can be overwhelming. A simple internet search can delay their decision (or give them too many choices which is already a problem). Their bosses had to visit the library or read manuals for information making them more “gut” decision oriented without lots of data to back them up. Millenials feel a need to seek out and gather their information.

What can leaders do with their millennials to make them stronger decision-makers?

  1. Empower millenials to make decisions. As a leader, avoid the urge to micro-manage them (like their parent’s did). Start by making less decisions yourself! What to order in for lunch? Give that decision away! When millenials come to you with questions, instead of making the decision for them, help them, “If you were your boss, what would you tell yourself to do?”
  2. Ask millenials to choose from a top few choices instead of all possibilities. Narrowing to a short list is a decision in itself!
  3. Give Millennials a deadline for when to have the decision finalized.
  4. Let millennials make the decision in a group or with their leader. They want social relationships, mentors and a relationship with their boss. Use decision-making as a place where they can have this need fulfilled.
  5. Provide millenials with decision-making assessments to learn how they make decisions. Millenials crave development. Use assessments like the Movement Pattern Analysis Profile or others which do not have a psychometric element or self-reporting. Without much practice, the next leaders don’t have a good grasp of their own process and will only be able to give responses based on what others have told them and will skew the results.

To learn more about the Movement Pattern Analysis Profile as a path to leadership for millennials, join Moving Image Consulting for a free webinar on June 27 at 1 pm CST.

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