Welcome to Episode 27 of the Sales Influencer Series, a podcast featuring the brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing.

Welcome back. In today's episode, Ambition's Jeremy Boudinet welcomes workplace management expert Bruce Tulgan.

The subject is managing the millennial workforce - something Bruce knows a thing or two about as the founder of management training firm RainmakerThinking and publisher of two new books: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy and Bridging the Soft Skills Gap.

Ep 27. The Pillars of Millennial Management


Interview Topics 

Introductions. 0:00 - 5:12.  (Jump here)

We invited Bruce onto the show after reading two of his most recent books - Not Everyone Gets a Trophy and Bridging the Soft Skills Gap. Combined, these texts offer a perfect two-part combo for understanding who millennials are, what drives them and what they need from you as a manager. Bruce explains what drove him to start RainmakerThinking, the research he's conducted over the course of writing and what spurred him to tackle these huge topics in the first place.

Characterizations About Millennials. 5:12 - 8:42. (Jump here)

I want to divide this interview into 2 parts - the first half addressing the prevailing topics you discussed in Not Everyone Gets a Trophy in the second half addressing the subject of teaching Soft Skills to Gen-Y.

Starting with Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, you cover 9 proven leadership strategies over the course of the book. I want to start, though, by getting your overarching perspectives on Millennials, especially those in sales. Start by telling us - where are Millennials being unfairly characterized? And where are we being characterized most accurately?  

Fact-Checking Previous Interviews. 8:42 - 14:52 (Jump here)

One of Bruce's younger contemporaries - Ryan Jenkins - asserted that Millennials value lifestyle and relationships over work and also often choose a city before they choose a job. Bruce separates fact from fiction and explains why managers shouldn't focus on those issues and focus instead on what they can control.

Bruce also tackles the subject of career opportunity, as the top reason Millennials leave organizations is the lack of career opportunity. Bruce explains why that's important and how managers can more easily solve them. 

Finally, Bruce discusses the distinction between millennials and boomers: their feelings toward feedback. When boomers aren't receiving feedback from their supervisors, they see it as a positive. When millennials aren't receiving feedback, they start to panic.

Feedback, Coaching and Millennials. 14:52 - 21:07 (Jump here)

Bruce describes importance of regular, structured guidance, support and coaching. He emphasizes the need for a regular, structured dialogue - what RainmakerThinking trains is back-to-fundamentals training and coaching-focused leadership.

Bruce also emphasizes that managers shouldn't feel like they need to befriend millennials. Millennials don't want a friend as a leader, they want a strong, supportive leader who provides guidance, direction and feedback. If managers deliver that, then that's how they develop a strong relationship with millennials.

How Companies Think about Culture. 21:07 - 24:40. (Jump here)

A lot of organizations underestimate the importance of leadership. According to Bruce, you either have a culture by default or a culture by design. It's up to the company leadership to define the expectations, processes, and management style that creates a well-designed culture.

The trademarks of elite culture are a purposeful culture that emphasizes high performance, creates camaraderie and facilitates success via support and feedback from all sides.

Managing Soft Skills in Millennials. 24:40 - 32:15. (Jump here)

There is a growing soft skills gap in the workforce that is most prevalent among 2nd wave millennials. Young people are coming in with tremendous energy and enthusiasm, new skills and techniques, and great ideas and abilities - but they lack the old fashioned soft skills.

Critical thinking, followership, self-discipline and positive work habits are an issue with the youngest part of the workforce. They're lacking in people skills and the ability to do deep-dive learning. They're also less interested in learning how to follow the rules and align with workplace culture. 

No one is writing about this facet of millennial management - and yet, these are the most foundational, important things we should be talking about as managers and business leaders when it comes to our talent. Millennial managers can combat this by attaching meaning to these soft skills and explaining why they positively benefit the worker. 

Tactics for Managing Soft Skills. 32:15 - 36:25. (Jump here)

There are no shortcuts to managing soft skills. Leaders need to realize soft skills are important to who the organization is, as a business entity. The soft skills a business emphasizes will have an impact on culture - maybe it's a great attitude, service mindset, timeliness, or going the extra mile. Figure out which matters most to your organization and then instill it into your hiring, onboarding, training and coaching and continued learning strategy.

When you do that, that's how you instil success in your organization. And when you do so, you develop a reputation for excellence. And in the process, you show your workers that your organization breeds success and will help them become the best versions of themselves.

Signing Off. 36:25 - 37:45. (Jump here)

People can get in touch Bruce via RainmakerThinking. They have tons of free resources and a continuously updating newsfeed that provides new articles, interviews and other insights for managers. You can also follow Bruce on Twitter at @BruceTulgan - he's very accessible and easy to contact.

The Sales Influencer Series Library

To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below. 

Episode 1. John Barrows

Episode 2. Lori Richardson

Episode 3. Max Altschuler

Episode 4. Matt Heinz

Episode 5. Mark Leslie

Episode 6. Kyle Porter

Episode 7. Jon Bradford

Episode 8. Eks Anderson

Episode 9. Matt Hottle

Episode 10. Heather Morgan

Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman

​Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins

Episode 13. Tamara Schenk​

Episode 14. Mike Weinberg

Episode 15. Scott Britton

Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow

Episode 17. Dionne Mischler

Episode 18. Ken Barton

Episode 19. Kevin Karner

Episode 20. Jill Rowley

Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger

Episode 22. Will Wickey

Episode 23. Drew Woodcock

Episode 24. Dail Wilson

Episode 25. Nathan Sexton

Episode 26. Tucker Max

Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan

Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen

Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram


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