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July 24, 2017 By Shane Born

How to breed Millennials into leaders

How to breed Millennials into leaders

A 2016 Gallup Poll suggests that half of Millennials are looking for a new job. In fact, only 29 percent feel emotionally invested in their jobs.

But it gets worse.

Fifty-five percent are “checked out” and 16 percent are “more or less out to do damage to their company,” the chairman and CEO of Gallup reports.

Now, the survey results may not reflect the attitude of your own automotive sales staff, those workers between the ages of 21-37.

But can you afford to take that chance?

Millennials are a new breed of workers who aren’t just working for a paycheck. They want their jobs to provide a sense of purpose. One way to promote that stronger employee affinity for a dealership is to identify and develop potential leaders using these three steps.

Recognize Talent

How often do we stereotype the new guy in IT as someone who is “good with computers” or say a new salesperson is a “people person”?

It begins with keen observation. You must first recognize specific talents, passions, or strengths about individual employees. Perhaps the employees realize they are unique but lack the confidence to better themselves because they have been ignored in the past.

Acknowledge Value

After you’ve identified employees with talent, acknowledge their current and potential value to the company.

To do this, you as a leader must develop a strong relationship with those employees. That way, the employees are more likely to respect you as their leader and buy into your vision for them. Your appreciation of them, combined with your excitement about their potential, fuels their passion for the dealership.

Encourage Consistently

Two important takeaways from the Gallup Poll might also affect your own leadership style. Millennials don’t want to be evaluated once a year by a “traditional” boss. They want constant feedback from managers who serve as their coaches.

Your dealership will confront various challenges. However, solutions won’t be found in “feel-good” pep rallies. Managers must routinely praise those employees who think outside the box, brainstorm, and collaborate with others to solve daunting challenges. This affirmation will spur employees to improve their performance even more.

And if results are less than optimal, instill the mindset, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.”

Learning valuable lessons will lead to better execution the next time around. Managers must instill a desire for the relentless pursuit of perfection and develop a culture that acknowledges and passionately pursues progress.

By adapting these three principles, you will create a culture that breeds leaders – and harnesses the untapped energy of millennials who see their job as a way of life.

Shane Born is Chief Operating Officer at ProMax. He can be reached at

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