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5 millennial mindsets to strengthen in turbulent times

Danita Bye is the author of Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader.

Amid news about the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Millennials are also making headlines. Unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.

During a recent interview, I was asked to respond to this statement:

“Millennials are singled out as being guilty of not obeying the shelter rules. They could be asymptomatic, but spreading the COVID-19 virus to the elderly and essential workers. What advice do you have for them?”

My response?

“In the last few years, I have become an activist to dispel the stereotypes that haunt this generation. Entitled, self-absorbed, narcissistic…the list keeps expanding, and now, we’ll add negligent and ignorant! However, I remain positive about this generation. I believe they possess the traits that will be needed to survive and thrive in our new world.”

The interviewer was slightly surprised by my passionate reaction, asking, "Well, how do we harness the immense potential of Millennials to rebuild our world in the aftermath of this pandemic?”

As I reflect on the best way to work with our future leaders to prepare them, Romans 8:28 (NIV) came to mind. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

How might God be calling you to respond to the Millennial in your life during this unprecedented crisis? How might you coach them to see how they can be part of fulfilling God’s promise in this scripture?”

5 Mindsets Your Millennial Needs to Strengthen

When coaching young leaders, I use the Catalyst Question to stimulate a shift from toxic, destructive thinking to healthy, productive thinking. This is the format for the power-packed question that emerging leaders are invited to ask themselves: “What might I do to achieve the desired results?”

Here’s the rationale behind the critical importance of each part of this question.

1. Activate an Accountability Mindset

An accountability mindset focuses on “what” one might do that’s constructive during these times of chaos and uncertainty. Accountability means having the emotional maturity and internal backbone to take responsibility for your own actions and choices, even when their jobs are in a lurch, and their world looks like it’s falling apart.

When I hear victim-speak with the Millennials I coach, their questions often start with “Who” or “Why.” That’s when I respond with, “What might you do to start strengthening yourself, even while you are homebound and facing unprecedented difficulties?” When your up-and-coming leaders get bogged down in asking the unanswerable “Who” and “Why” questions, help them reframe to a question that begins with “What.”   And, I invite them to see the good God is continuing to do in their lives.

2. Ignite Their Creative Solution Mindset

“Might” cunningly invites your Millennial or Gen Z leader to consider new possibilities, options, and connections instead of seeing a dead end. It is a small, power-packed word in our catalyst question. God reveals multiple avenues to explore – when we seek Him, being open to seeing the  good. I find it useful to invite the Millennials I’m coaching to craft at least three possible solutions to a current problem they are facing. This is brainstorming time, which means no wrong answers. By working together as a team, you’ll come up with brilliant options.

3. Grow an Ownership Mindset

The entitlement mindset is rampant in our culture, and many expect others to come up with solutions on their behalf. This creates an obstruction to using our God-given gifts, talents, and strengths. In contrast, leaders with an ownership mindset own their response to their circumstances.

I invite those I’m working with to tap into their resources by taking inventory of their spiritual gifts. They develop their ownership mindset as they realize how God can use them to work for the good. Coach them to examine how they might make changes to bring about different results. Challenge them to use I-statements when discussing a problem and it’s related solutions.

4. Adopt an Action Mindset

When I’m leading a team who is tackling extremely difficult tasks, I ask them daily, “What did you do to stretch your comfort zone?  What did you do that made you sweat?” An action mindset moves from talking to doing.

To switch on the action mindset, invite your Millennials to stretch their comfort zone. Yes, they grew up collaborating. However, while they are more comfortable with technology than many of us, they are still out of sorts with this sudden reduction of human interaction. Assure your young leaders that by stretching their comfort zone daily, they are growing their capacity as a leader, which is fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.

5. Switch on a Results Mindset

Those with a results mindset know how to set and reach their goals, to “achieve the desired outcome.”  During this chaotic time, your Millennial might need guidance to do this. In my eBook, Energize your Dreams, I describe the action steps needed to help them identify what they want, and how to go after those goals. Guide them to see how they can take the concrete next steps to fulfill God’s promise – in all things, he works for the good of those who love him.

For some, a long-term action plan might seem overwhelming right now. Help them chart at least one measurable action step. Work with them to focus on the most important actions needed to move for­ward.


I believe that as we are moving forward, Millennials will make the headlines….for all the right reasons. Why?  Because I have confidence that God is energizing and equipping leaders, like yourself, to mentor and coach them.

How will you respond to your calling? What are the mindsets that you will nurture in your future leaders to assist them to become instruments in God’s hand so that they work and live in the promise of Romans 8:28?

Danita Bye, M.A., is an executive leadership coach. She’s served as Forbes Coaches Council contributor, Harvard Business School MBA sales coach, and as a TEDx speaker on Millennial leadership. In her recent book, Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen, she equips leaders to leverage leadership and communication differences to fuel business growth.

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