“Attitude reflects leadership, captain!” That’s one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies. For those not familiar, this line is from the movie Remember The Titans. The line is from a scene where the team football captain, Gary, is telling Julius, a top defensive player, that he doesn't like his attitude on the field. Julius’s reply is a simple but very insightful response; “attitude reflects leadership, captain!
This is a leadership lesson that clearly transcends generations. This leadership lesson, however, is also critical to recruiting and retaining millennial talent. Millennials aspire to be great leaders and thus gravitate to great leadership.
Past generations were drawn to and enamored with big name companies. Companies like IBM, General Mills, Kellogg’s, GE or Coke were considered good jobs simply because they were big brands with big names.
People stayed at these companies for the perceived job security, the perks, benefits and sensation that came with working at a big name brand. It didn't matter what your boss was like or how leadership was perceived, you smiled through it and complained to family and friends when you got off.
Millennials are less inclined to “smile through it” and fake their happiness. Millennials prefer to work for great leadership rather than work for a high profile company. This generation believes that great leadership is what makes a company great.
For companies that are looking to recruit and retain top millennial talent, start with assessing the leadership within your organization. Millennials are attracted to great leadership and that’s also what will keep them. The level of commitment, loyalty and dedication is directly related to the quality of the leadership they work for.
If the leadership at your organization is poor, millennials will leave no matter how big the brand name is. Additionally, the company will not receive the benefit of this generation’s best work under mediocre leadership. Why? Because millennials Remember The Titans. And when it comes to millennials, attitude, attraction and retention reflect leadership.
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson