Playing the Millennial Leader Game

January 30, 2016
January 30, 2016 Joe Britto

Welcome to the upgraded Millennial Leader app 2.0. Now with a new added vision for work and play… A collaborative project dreamt up by three 15 year olds in a basement – and a perfect Millennial generation cliché.

Doing What you Love

Of course being a Gen Xer, it’s possible I’m prone to sarcasm but even if there is a leadership app it’s not replacing real people anytime soon.

But it’s true, right, that Millennials are collaborative and innovative? That’s what all the HR and business articles tell us anyway. Well, yes, but what’s most interesting to me is the way Millennials have made it OK to have fun at work. And how as leaders they’re all about creating an environment that rewards staff with more than just a pay packet.

Instead of finding a better work-life balance Millennials want a workplace where they bring their life with them instead of leaving it at the door. They want work to be fun. They want to play at work.

All Work and No Play

Playing at work…? Yes, really. Maybe you’re doubtful and who could blame you. Someone attached to their phone alone or distracting team members with YouTube cat videos is not a productive person. Their need for entertainment is one of the criticisms thrown at Millennials. Another is they’re not serious enough to be good leaders. So shouldn’t we be encouraging Millennials to rein in the fun stuff and get down to work?

Actually, no. Google is one organization that prioritises play at work… and Google isn’t doing too badly. But it’s not really about indoor slides and pool tables, it’s a playful attitude that makes the biggest difference. Millennial leaders cultivate a playful culture and it’s one of their greatest strengths. Here’s why you should come out to play too.

Millennial Leader, Playful Leader

Counter intuitive it may be, but play actually makes us more productive. Playfulness generates creativity and new ways of thinking. That buzz can be harnessed to make a more productive workplace.

From a day long treasure hunt to a quick game of mini-golf in the office, playfulness can come in all shapes and sizes. It can even be a quieter affair with some magnetic fridge poetry to create stories in the office kitchen.

At Innate Leaders we use playful activities so participants can try out new roles and ways of behaving. In fact with an Innate Leaders programme you might even be putting on a play. Like dressing up as a kid you can try on a new identity – and here’s the crucial part – take a few risks in an encouraging environment.

In the workplace having regular opportunities to play means you’re keeping agile and are better equipped to deal with the unpredictable surprises around the corner.

Here are some other tips to help you cultivate playfulness in your organization:

  • Puzzles and games available for breaks
  • A story or picture wall
  • Time for experimentation without a preconceived outcome
  • Go for walks outside during meetings or play ping pong while talking
  • Enforced fun is no fun – let people choose their own activities


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What to dive deeper?

Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto

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Our approach starts with an interactive experience. We work with your teams to develop the six attributes of a leadership mindset that enables them to work together, model leadership, and come up with solutions themselves.

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Our consulting ignites a revolution. It grows the six attributes and operationalises leadership behaviours. Not only do your people have great ideas, they have the mindset to make those ideas succeed.

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