Are Millennials troublesome team players?

Posted by Rick Yvanovich

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Just in the past few years, the frequency of teamwork and collaboration activities at work has doubled, urging organisations to find people with good teamwork skill. Ironically, “lack of teamwork skill” is among the most common complaint about Millennials. But since more and more young people are entering the labour market, it’s time that they and even the employers identify and tackle the factors that make teamwork less thrilling but more challenging for themselves.

Nobody is naturally a good team player. What matters is the individual’s core behaviours as well as their surrounding environment. Therefore, don’t let the common misconceptions about Millennials cloud your judgement. There might be both internal and external factors that have an impact on their performance in a team setting.

Read more: Do we really know the Millennials?

Are Millennials troublesome team players?

Bridging the generation gap to enhance teamwork

This scenario must be familiar.

Son/Daughter: You don’t understand me at all.

Parents: At my times, we never act like that.

Son/Daughter: That’s too old-school already! These days, you have to do that way.

Above is a typical example of generation gap – the difference in opinions among generations.

Growing up in completely different times causes one generation’s values, beliefs or even interests to greatly differ from another. And this gap easily leads to tension within family whenever the differences are brought up.

The same thing also happens in the workplace. Millennials might occupy 40 per cent of the current global workforce, and working along with them are professionals from Generation X and older.

Read more: What is Talent Management?

A variety of generations working under the same roof with distinct expectations and priorities leads to stereotyping the other cohorts and provoking conflicts. In a multi-generational team, younger members are often frustrated at the older ones as they protest new ways of thinking and strictly follow the traditional methods.

Meanwhile, the older generation gets tired of the stubborn and impulsive Millennials for ignoring rules and regulations. Eventually, every team discussion becomes a battle, and no positive result is produced.

Read more: 6 advices to overcome generation gap

Are Millennials troublesome team players?

Millennials and the issue with teamwork

Although being regarded as highly intelligent and quick thinking, Vietnamese Millennials are struggling to find jobs. According to employers, it was because some of the graduates’ soft skills are not up to their expectations. Unsurprisingly, teamwork skill is among the list.

With classes and extra activities at the university, Vietnamese young people have got plenty of chances to work in teams, and some even deliver excellent results in both member and leader positions. Yet their performance fails in real working environment. Regardless of their past performance, they are deemed as “lack teamwork skill.”

Read more: Aspects of a team that leaders need to be aware of

It’s easy to give such comments, but have you ever wondered what exactly teamwork skill is?  Such an unusual question, isn’t it? But one should be noted that teamwork skill is different from team-leading skill. If you want your young generation to become leaders without knowing how to work effectively as a team member, you are building your house from the roof.

These above-mentioned factors, either accidentally or intentionally, turn the young generation into troublesome team players. However, we can’t avoid establishing multi-generational teams or ignoring the inconsistency in Millennials’ performance in teams.

It’s time to re-evaluate your current teams to find out if yours also experiences the same problem. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts on how to overcome these two obstacles below, and we will come back next week with our suggested solutions.

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Topics: Talent Management

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

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