Instead of complaining about millennials, it is time for us to start taking responsibility for supporting their leadership development. Here are a few ways to take on the challenge.

Look at me!

One common critique of millennials is that they need exact details mapped out for them on how they can succeed and constant feedback along the way. While that may be a challenge sometimes, this is exactly the type of trait that can help us grow leaders.

Specifically, we can provide and exhibit clear examples of our own leadership style every day. In our one-on-one meetings, we can define the type of leader we are and illustrate how the actions we take combine to exemplify that style.

We can talk candidly about the things that challenge us and the tools and methods we use to approach those challenges. We also have colleagues and other leaders around the office to which we can compare and contrast approaches. And, we can do it all in a real-world, real-time setting.

Look at you!

Similarly, we can take opportunities in their daily work world to talk about how they approached something and get their thoughts and perspectives on how it went. We can then use this information to provide resources, insight and advice to help them further their development.

Leadership development then becomes an active, ongoing conversation that can be reinforced at any time and highlighted consistently.

The same approach works for reinforcing the milestones along the mapped path and recognizing successes. Like modelling leadership approaches, defining leadership excellence should be an interactive dialogue that includes finding out what they want to do and learn; defining what the organization needs from them; and understanding our ability to help.

We can then reconcile individual goals with organizational needs and create a clear picture of expectations, incentives and rewards.

Skip the line

The other thing that can be challenging for budding leaders, especially millennials, is the distinction that exists between them and their peers or subordinates. While this is a balancing act for all generations, it can become especially tricky for millennials that rely on peers for feedback or advice and then find themselves supervising those peers.

To ensure they are set up for success, we can work with millennials to help them define themselves in the position and help them understand the various dynamics they may have to address after they are promoted.

Thus, by approaching leadership development as an ongoing conversation, we can work together to refine our millennial employees’ approach to leadership.

By embracing their need for feedback and recognition, we can further the dialogue around leadership development to specifically address their unique goals and challenges. And, by continuing to openly communicate around our own styles and challenges we can enjoy the added benefit of continuing to strengthen and refine our own leadership skills.

Honesty — even when it is negative regarding salary or bonuses is better than misleading, misinformation or absence of information — benefits include understanding of commitment, respect and authentic support.