Coaching Millennials: The Solution may be in the Roots

Coaching Millennials: The Solution may be in the Roots


The old style of leadership advised us to “command and control” our teams. Today, we know that challenging people to perform at their best is most effective when we’re in close relationship with them.

When coaching and developing younger leaders it must happen in the context of a strong relationship, where trust is nurtured.

Here are two excerpts from books I wrote (actually the last one is in the final stages of completion.)  See how the concepts tie together.

EXCERPT FROM: Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Today’s Leaders 
Foster collective independence.

California’s Coast Redwood, Sequoia Sempervirens to scientists, is the world’s tallest tree and fascinates me. The current record-holder, found in Redwood National Park in 2006, soars 379.1 feet into the sky – about the same height as a thirty-eight story building, a massive undertaking of metal and muscle. The mighty Coast Redwood, however, manages this feat with a few minerals, sunlight, water, and the roots of its neighbors.

I made a special trip to northern California to learn more about these magnificent trees, some of which have been around for over three thousand years. I learned that if you dug around the base of the tree, instead of massive roots you’ll see a network of tiny roots, only one inch in diameter. Amazed I realize that Mother Nature has just reinforced my belief in the value of interdependency through the root system of the great Redwood.

Think about this: Here you’ve got a magnificent tree as tall as a good-sized building with small, shallow roots. If we were to build something so tall with such a minimal foundation, it’d last only until the next stiff breeze. If the tree had to rely on its root system alone, few would survive, and certainly not for millennia. But Sequoia Sempervirens interlock its roots with others of its kind, forming a supportive network that’s kept some of them upright since biblical times.

As leaders, we sometimes feel that we have to be the tough one who stands alone, leading by sheer determination. We want to operate like singular powerhouses needing nothing and no one.  In real life, I experience that great leaders, who build strong, sustainable business and sales cultures, come in a very different package. 

​The leaders who are more effective are humble and recognize that much of their strength comes from the resources around them. These are the leaders who know they’ll be stronger and more effective when they aren’t doing it on their own, but when they’re working in concert with those around them.

Here are some action steps to explore:

  • Schedule regular staff listening events
  • Join a peer roundtable
  • Develop a fully functioning leadership team
  • Raise your Emotional E.Q.

EXTRACT FROM MILLENNIALS MATTER (to be released later this year.)

Respect your “Relationship Wiring.”  By valuing your own identity and collaborating with the diverse talents of others you will maximize teamwork. ~ Danita Bye

Respecting your relationship wiring means you value your own identity while collaborating with the diverse talents of others.  In that way, we can maximize teamwork. This identity should be rooted in every true relationship; whether it’s with colleagues, clients, followers, peers, friends, or family.
Suggest these three steps to the Next Gen Leaders you’re coaching:

Collaborate with people who can make you stronger.

Our strengths might easily become our weaknesses if we don’t have others with their varied gifts and talents working alongside us.  For example, some people will stall out on every single project if they don’t have others on the team with detail-oriented talent working alongside them.

Focus on finding strong points.

Everyone has gifts and talents. Look for them. Make a habit of affirming the strengths you see. Imagine how relationships might improve when you communicate positively with others who are struggling to find their way in new and challenging surroundings. Sometimes, changes or pressure at work and at home are too much when combined.

Take action to raise your awareness levels.

Ask yourself how you can be more aware of the positive traits in those around you. Focus on communicating genuine and positive messages to your team members. It will inspire them to believe they have the capability to do what is helpful to the team. Results will follow!

As a seasoned leader, encourage Millennial and Sales Leaders to be keen observers of other people’s strengths. Urge them to begin a lifelong habit of not being intimidated by other people’s strengths. It is the combined strengths that make a team great! Then teach them to practice drawing out the best in each person.

Leadership Lesson: When coaching and developing younger leaders it must happen in the context of a strong relationship, where trust is nurtured.

​​© Copyright Danita Bye, 2017


  • Fred Evasn
    Posted at 05:32h, 27 March Reply

    Danita: I think that John Boyd would enjoy this! Dad T T T

  • Tom Kieffer
    Posted at 15:56h, 27 March Reply

    Great stuff Danita. I wish I’d learned this in my 20’s instead of my 40’s … but never too late to learn how important it is to connect with others who have strengths in areas where I do not eh?


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