4 Tactics to Take Control of Your Career

Millennials—a word synonymous with labels such as lazy, demanding, entitled, impatient and disrespectful. Is it any wonder that many Millennials are finding a less-than-welcoming workplace environment?

A shocking clash of culture between Millennial employees and top-down management can create a very hostile and unsuccessful experience. This lack of understanding is forcing many Millennials to quickly exit their newfound, hard-fought-for jobs in just a matter of months.

So, what’s a Millennial to do? Stand up and fight for your right to contribute! Don’t give up at the first sign of negativity—instead, consider using one or more of the tactics below to demonstrate the value you bring.

Communicate with Confidence

Text messages, instant messages, email and social media messaging are amazing tools that Millennials are extremely confident in using to share opinions, ideas and general discussion. Unfortunately, while these forms of communication are excellent means for getting content out, what they lack is the emotion and the intent behind the information.

Often, what is not said can have a bigger impact on communication than the spoken words. Imagine you are with your manager talking about a challenge that came up on the project. You finish giving all the details, and your manager leans back in her chair, takes a long pause, and says, “Okay.” Chances are, she is not really “okay” with the situation. Leaning back and the long pause are both nonverbal indicators that need to be addressed. Neither of these cues would have been identified had you sent a quick email about the project. And, likely—much further along the project timeline—you would have found out you truly didn’t have your manager’s support.

Quick tip: To be a confident communicator, know when to use the most effective form of communication. Sharing content? Great opportunity to use technology! Needing to have a dialogue? Face-to-face might be the much better route to take.

Take the Wheel

Once you have successfully communicated an idea, and you have support, the next step is taking charge. What better way to overcome the stigma of Millennials being lazy or entitled, than stepping up to the plate to take charge.

Taking charge begins with choosing the players to join you on this venture. Who you select for the team will either help you reach the goal or derail you quickly. Having the right mix of skills, personalities, and work styles will help you minimize potential discord while maximizing effectiveness.

Quick tip: Avoid personality clashes. Just because a resource has the right skill set doesn’t mean the person is the right fit. If he or she doesn’t have the ability to work well with others, you will waste a lot of time on conflict and may derail your entire team, resulting in failure to achieve the goal.

Become a Game Changer

What is a game changer? Game changers are individuals with an imagination, confidence and a willingness to take risk. Game changers can come from any department and any role within an organization. Keep in mind that each of us has the ability to be a positive change agent. We just have to believe passionately in our vision, be relentless in our commitment, be bold and not let anyone tell us we can’t achieve.

Quick tip: Often, ideas are left unspoken because you think, “This sounds crazy,” or “I’m not sure I can pull that off.” Unless you get your ideas out there and gain support, the idea may remain just that—an idea. Keep in mind, crazy ideas are often the ones that change the world.

Be Proactive

Negative experiences happen to all of us. We get passed over for a promotion that we really worked hard to win. We end up having to work late to meet a deadline, making us miss a dinner party we had planned to attend. Teammates fail to deliver on a promised task. Life happens to all of us; it is how we respond that makes all the difference. We can choose to react to all these circumstances, or we can instead choose to be proactive. When we react, we are allowing others to control the situation. When we choose to be proactive, we take control. Proactively anticipate potential problems, take charge of the situation, and remain solution-focused.

Quick tip: Being proactive means that you take ownership of both your successes and failures. Accept responsibility for any mistakes along the way, and use these as opportunities to learn and grow.

These are a few effective ways to ensure you take control of your career, attain your vision and achieve your goals. If you’re interested in learning more helpful tips to drive your career forward in a meaningful way, I invite you to take a look inside my book Unleashing the Intrapreneur, Changing the Face of Corporate America (download a free chapter here) and the companion book, The Manager’s Guide to Unleashing the Intrapreneur (launching October 2017).