Managing Millennials: Lean Champion Jeff Riedel Emphasizes the Importance of Mentoring

Christi Beck-Levicki Blog

As part of our Millennials in Manufacturing blog series with i-Connect007, we now move on to the managerial perspective – what it’s like to manage millennials. It’s a common complaint from managers that millennials simply don’t want to be managed. But is this true?

Jeff Riedel, the lean champion at Saline LectronicsThis week, we have Jeff Riedel, the lean champion at Saline Lectronics. In this interview, Jeff talks about the unique challenges of dealing with and training millennials, the advantages that they bring to the table, and strategies to help develop them into effective leaders as the older generation leaves the workforce.

Here are some snippets from Jeff’s interview:

Most millennials are not used to doing “repetitive work”—they see it as a boring job—as electronic manufacturing can require. They are typically used to a fast-paced environment with exciting entertainment, such as video games. Manufacturing is just the opposite. Having the millennials involved in developing the training—using media they are used to—is key. Also, being open to new methods such as rotating the workforce through different positions throughout the day to keep them engaged and challenged.

Leadership does take patience and perseverance, but so do many of the manufacturing jobs in today’s environment. Those millennials who see that they have the potential to become leaders and are encouraged by their mentors will learn to have patience and perseverance. The key for successful millennials in leadership positions is the mentoring process. Many of the current mentors are from the older generation and sometimes seen by millennials as their parents. If the older generation is able to encourage them, and the millennials are able to accept the mentoring and training, then they can become very effective leaders.

Read the entire interview here.