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Last month at the PRSA Western District Conference, I was able to attend Ken Jacobs’ presentation on Managing and Motivating Millennials.

Interestingly enough I had never given much thought to managing different “generations.” If someone (young or old) worked hard, tried hard and did a great job that was all that mattered.

But according to Jacobs- there is a lot more to Millennials than meets the eye. I wanted to share what Jacobs described as the top 10 traits of millennials and what each trait means.

Millennials are:

1)      DETERMINED and very OPTIMISTIC– Meaning they don’t quit!

2)      Exaggerated and delicate sense of self- Their entire life they have been told by parents and teachers they are great (and they get trophy for just showing up).

3)      Community Loyal- They care about the world they live in and they want to make a difference.

4)      Socially Driven- They are attracted to organizations where they can contribute to the greater good.

5)      Highly moral and are self-policing- They don’t want a boss, they want a mentor.

6)      Goal Focused- They demand freedom and frequent feedback (but in the right way).

7)      Crave creative career paths- The jobs must fit into their lives, not the other way around.

8)      Comfortable with and influenced by technology- And they have a huge “community” loyalty online.

9)      Selective in processing- They are very good at “tuning out”- They have always been bombarded with messages- they hear what they want to hear.

10)  Worlds apart from GenX- They see GenXers as skeptical, cynical, aloof, unfair.


Recently Alison blogged about being a millennial and included some tips for managers to consider. Just for fun- if you want to know how “millennial” you are, you can take this quiz (My score was an 84- so I am guessing I’m not quite a millennial, but I am sure my age did not give it away)!

So what do you think- Do you agree with these traits or can they be seen across all generations?


Rachel Brockway
Rachel Brockway
Senior Account Executive Rachel is a native Arizonian, who enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, playing tennis, reading and social media. She’s a busy mom and is passing the idea of volunteerism onto her son. Check out Rachel's Full Bio


  1. Stephanie Lough says:

    Dang I got a 72. Probably my lack of tats.

  2. Ken Jacobs says:

    Thanks so much for that blog post. Is there a quiz for Baby Boomers? 🙂

  3. Katie says:

    Interesting quiz. I got a 93!

    After looking at the traits Mr. Jacobs mentions, I would have to agree that I am in fact a Millennial.

    However, I tend to think that there are other factors aside from the year an individual was born that impact an individuals work performance and work ethic.

  4. Scott Hanson says:

    I think I only fit into about half of those defining terms.

  5. Rocco Weber says:

    Top-down or command-and-control methods will prove less effective for the next generation, but millennials can be brought together for a mission they consider meaningful. Defining the mission, and remaining flexible enough to refine and redefine it, will create an environment in which leaders will emerge. Millennials with effective skills that include leadership abilities will emerge as leaders in projects despite aversion to a long-term commitment to management as a career.

  6. James says:

    Wow a score of 45 and I was born in 94.

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