Mentoring Millennials: 6 Surprising Things to Tell Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

They’re the product of “helicopter parenting,” so they’re unprepared for the future.

They’re lazy and given to “slacking.”

They’re caught up in instant gratification and feel entitled to quick success and rewards.

They’ve been coddled, so they’re clueless about “real world” hard knocks.

The Millennial generation has earned a rather unfortunate reputation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t look to mentors for guidance, both in career and in life.

You may get the opportunity to mentor someone in this fast-growing workforce demographic—or perhaps you already do.

Some Sound Advice 

[Photo via Flickr]
If you’re mentoring a Millennial (those in their 20s or early 30s), it’s important to understand your audience. This younger generation might go about their careers differently, but they can still learn leadership advice from wise, successful women.

Here’s 6 surprising things that mentors can tell their younger counterparts — direct from some of today’s top women leaders.

That job you hate might teach you something. 
“Learn as much as you can about your chosen field. Take on jobs or responsibilities that you’re not crazy about so you can learn. The more well-rounded you are in your field, the more attractive you’ll be to prospective employers.”

–Anne Lynam Goddard, president/CEO of ChildFund International, a global organization

You’re not too young to reinvent yourself.

“A top regret from [my] 20s is not standing my ground against my parents for what I wanted for myself in my life and what I didn’t want.”

–Riina Rinkineva, life coach

Leave your bad organization skills at college.
“When you’re unorganized, it’s easy to drop the ball, fail to communicate, miss a meeting or fail to get back to someone. The tragedy is when others judge you as lacking integrity when in fact you’re simply unorganized.”

–Marlene Chism, consultant, speaker, and author of No-Drama Leadership: How Enlightened Leaders Transform Culture in the Workplace

Someone always knows more than you do.

“Don’t be intimidated by those who seem to know more than you. It’s easy to techno-babble at someone and seem intelligent. Never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. If the person you ask can’t or won’t explain, it’s likely he/she doesn’t really understand.”

–Nora Mullaney, software engineer at Facebook, to Forbes

Keep track of your own successes.

“Remember your accomplishments when it’s time to advocate for a promotion or apply to jobs. We sometimes forget to validate our accomplishments and achievements.”

–Jenn DeWall, Denver-based ​certified career coach​.

You’re not a snob if you promote yourself.

“Working hard at your ​job isn’t enough to get you noticed. Young women should take initiative and tell colleagues and bosses about tasks they’re working on, upcoming projects, obstacles they’ve overcome and their overall value. You need to let your boss, your boss’s boss [and] your colleagues know what you’re doing.”

–Peggy Klaus, author of Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It