I started doing these Millennial Spotlight interviews to gain insight and perspective on what other Millennial employees enjoyed about the workplace. I started interviewing many different individuals across many different industries. The person I interviewed today is someone I know to be extremely inspiring, energetic, well-informed, and funny. Additionally, she holds a leadership position within a large, local, not-for-profit company. I wanted to interview her to get her perspective on what it is like to be a Millennial holding a leadership position. So I asked her the following questions:
- What is your current job title? What company do you currently work for?
Answer: Supervisor of Organizational Development, Renown Health
- How many employees report to you?
- What do you like most about being a leader?
Answer: The thing I like most about being a leader is that I like to be a resource for people when they need direction or answers. I also like to be able to motivate, engage, and provide context explaining the bigger picture to people when needed.
- What do you like least about being a leader? What challenges/obstacles have you faced as a Millennial Leader?
Answer: I don’t enjoy having to make unfavorable decisions that are good for the company but not so good for the employees. The biggest obstacle I currently face is managing work life balance for others. Additionally, another challenge I face is ensuring that everyone is on the same page when trying to accomplish goals. Lastly, accepting that my way is not the only right way to do something, that is a personal challenge for me.
- What are some of the most important things you have learned in your leadership role?
Answer: I have learned to become politically savvy- like how to you answer a question when you know the answer is going to be unfavorable. I have learned that self awareness is extremely important because you have to know yourself and be very honest with others about who and how you are. I have also learned that it is my job to ensure that employees understand my leadership style- my strengths and my weaknesses.
- What kinds of things do you do for your employees to recognize and reward them for their dedication and efforts?
Answer: My favorite way to recognize employees is with public recognition. I feel it is important to provide public recognition to employees, while also making sure that other leaders higher up know what wonderful things my employees are accomplishing. I also enjoy writing and sending personal thank you notes to recognize and reward employees. I think another way to motivate and reward employees is to plan events or provide time away from work (i.e. volunteer days, or team retreats) so that employees can recharge their batteries together.
- What keeps you personally motivated and engaged in your workplace?
Answer: What keeps me motivated is the overall mission and vision of the workplace. Connecting to that purpose really keeps me going. Additionally, the wonderful people I work with also keep me highly engaged. Lastly, the actual work that I do keeps me engaged because it challenging and meaningful.
- What advice would you give to other Millennials trying to earn a leadership role?
Answer: First off, build a strong network because it is critical to your success. Then make sure to reach out to the connections in your network to collaborate and produce better outcomes. Another piece of advice that I would give is to find a Mentor because in the areas that you not strong a mentor provides opportunity for skill development. Lastly, begin to separate yourself to a new professional level now- don’t wait. Try to avoid gossip, being concerned about what others are doing, and start looking at things with a different lens. It is a personal choice that you must mentally make to think about what is right for the company as opposed to what’s right for a specific person or for you personally.
In the end what I learned after my interview with Callie is that when employees connect with the overall purpose (Mission, Vision, Values) of a company it helps to keep them engaged and motivated. I also learned from this interview that giving public recognition/appreciation is a powerful tool to keep employees motivated and engaged. People love when their hard work gets recognized and love it even more when that information is passed up the chain of command. Lastly, Callie gave me some great advice on the importance of Networking, and not being afraid to utilize those contacts. For those Millennial Employees or Leaders out there reading this blog what do you think? Do you agree?
Photo Credit: All photos were provided by and approved for use by Callie Caddell