Leading Millennials

In this episode, Sam Shriver, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at The Center for Leadership Studies, talks with Jeff Chambers about leading the Millennial Generation.

Episode Transcript


Welcome to The Center for Leadership Studies podcast, an exploration of contemporary leadership issues with experts from a variety of fields and leadership backgrounds. In this episode, Sam Shriver, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at The Center for Leadership Studies, talks with Jeff Chambers about leading the Millennial generation.

Sam Shriver

You have a lot of very relevant experience, obviously, as it applies to the topic of leadership in particular and motivation in general. I’m interested; how do you see that as being different from generation to generation?

Jeff Chambers

Let’s look at what we know about the Millennials. They’re very educated, probably more educated than any other generation before them. They’re also very optimistic, but their concept of work is radically different than the concept of work that you and I might have. They don’t expect to work for a company 30 years. They don’t expect to work in an office. They expect to work for numerous different companies. And they expect to be able to work anywhere and everywhere because of technology. They’re very technologically literate, so they know how to use technology and use it effectively. Part of that is our fault as parents because we’ve told them the world’s not a safe place, so stay inside and play video games and get on the Internet.

The challenge I think we have in managing the millennials is their interpersonal skills may not be as good as past generations. I hate to generalize because I see kids who are millennials who have great interpersonal skills, so I think that can be one challenge, how they communicate. Texting is not a good skill when it comes to building relationships. Email is not good. Things get taken out of context. I always told people that report to me, face, phone, email, in that order, go down the hall and talk to somebody, pick up the phone and call them, and email them as a last resort because it helps build relationships and people won’t misinterpret those emails and things.

I think the Millennials are very optimistic about the future, but it’s hard for them, I think, to think that they can work anywhere and everywhere or work detached from the physical work site because so much happens in a physical work site that you miss the interactions in the hall. What you hear from your coworkers, you just don’t pick up on that. So, I think it is going to be a little more challenging to manage them. I don’t think that means some of the tools that we’ve traditionally used to manage people are inapplicable. I just think we have to look at this group and not just characterize them as a generation, but what do we know about these people, get to know them better and figure out what makes them tick and figure out what’s going to motivate them and how to manage them.


Jeff Chambers is the Director of HR and legal at The Center for Leadership Studies. He is also a vice president with Goodwin Executive Search responsible for business development and search execution. He serves as the Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Directors for World at Work and is also an advisory board member at Alpha Marketing. Jeff spent the majority of his career with SaaS Institute, a software company that consistently ranked high on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list during each of the eight years Jeff was Vice President of Human Resources

For seven years prior to that, Jeff was SaaS’s senior corporate counsel. After leaving SaaS, Jeff was appointed senior vice president of human resources and legal affairs for PRA International, a global clinical research organization. Most recently, he served as chief human resources officer at Vitent Health Systems. Jeff is a work-life-certified professional. He earned a BA in Political Science from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Villanova University of Law.

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