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Airmen learn how to lead millennials

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

In an effort to help leaders understand working with a new generation of Airmen and non-commissioned officers, the Schriever Air Force Base Professional Development Center held a Millennial Leadership class at the First Term Airman Center Jan. 17.

“I feel the course is important to bridge the generational gap that we have,” said Master Sgt. Janelle Amador, 50th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor. “There seems to be a lot of banter in regard to the way the old generations do things versus the new generation’s way of doing things.”

 According to the courses instructor, Master Sgt. Jeffery Tomkiewicz, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, there are differing beliefs or dispositions about this new generation.

“The millennial generation tends to get a bad rap sheet, yet this shouldn’t be the case,” he said. “The Millennial Leadership class addresses the strengths and weakness of this new generation.

“Older generations, such as the baby boomers and Generation-X, are more driven to achieve results by putting their head down, gritting their teeth and pushing through,” he continued. “Whereas millennials like to peel back the onion.”

Tomkiewicz observed millennials seem to want to fully understand the “why,” which leads them to ask a lot of questions.

“This gives a potentially offensive perception to the older generations, not realizing it’s not the intention,” he said.

“Millennials being information-driven tend to do this in order to make a process even better than before.”

The class covered what constitutes an individual as a millennial, what motivates them and drives them. They also discussed previous generations. 

Leaders also experienced a question-and-answer panel of Airmen and non-commissioned officers who fall under the millennial generation.

 “I make it clear that in order to get the full benefit of the class we must have civil discourse,” Tomkiewicz said. 

Once the panel was done, Tomkiewicz says all parties involved should have had a better understanding of each other going forward.

 “People need to keep an open mind realizing that all generations have their strengths, weakness, and surprisingly through my research, a lot of similarities,” he said.

The information provided in the class is aimed to enhance everyday interaction with millennials for leaders and supervisors. 

 “I think more people need to come,” Amador said. “I find that a lot of millennials tend to sign up for the classes. While this is great because millennials supervise millennials, but really we need the generations before them to attend these classes.”

The next class is scheduled for May followed by another in October, dates and times are yet to be determined.