Understanding the Millennial Mindset of Collaboration

When millennials were in their formative years, there was a storm of messages that resulted from this idea: “Teamwork makes a dream work.” Collaboration was considered an exemplary model. Every adult in Millennials’ lives encouraged them to stick their heads together and tap into the power of the group.
Millennials collaborate in the classroom
At school, millennials learned that the best results were achieved not when they did solo work, but when they were part of a team of collaborators. They were accustomed to group projects, working on tasks that benefited from the amalgamation of different forces.
After school, parents shuttled millennials back and forth to various sports and clubs—whether it was basketball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, debate team, drama club, or whatever group activity was in season. They wanted their children to learn to play well with others, and participating in team-based activities (no matter how bad you were at dribbling or remembering lines) was another way to introduce their children to group dynamics.
Millennials collaborate with adults
But millennials didn’t just collaborate with their other peers. They were learning to interact in this way with people in positions of authority as well. Each area of ​​Millennial life was more of an open and encouraging democracy than a tiered authoritarian regime (one that Boomers and Xers were used to).
At home, millennials saw their family as a unit, a team that wasn’t at the bottom of the barrel, but rather as active contributors. At school, teachers did their best not to be strict discipline, but to be friendly with each student. Guidance counselors asked the children to talk and share their thoughts. Adults did not want to belittle children or make them feel unimportant.
They wanted the next generation to feel confident in themselves, motivating them to be bold, share their ideas, and collaborate with the people around them, whether it was with their second-graders or the teacher himself.
Collaboration with the virtual domain
When social media first appeared, it only made it easier for millennials to expand their collaborative mindset into the virtual world. Physical barriers are no longer an obstacle, because now even if they are sitting in a room at home alone, they are armed with the tools to collaborate virtually. Since the mid-nineties, the technology of collaborative work has become more complex. Younger millennials are accustomed to collaborating with FaceTime and Google Docs, which for them is like in-person collaboration.
There are many people who value cooperation at work, but only to a certain extent. At a certain level, the instinct to cooperate can appear needy and cowardly for fear of speaking independently and ineffective. In one of the most negative ways, collaboration can seem to equate to groupthink. By definition, groupthink, in a sense, means that consensus is reached on the basis of sacrificing creativity and innovation. But creativity and innovation are some of the positive traits millennials are known for. Their collaboration is used to enhance creativity, not stifle it.
Parents, teachers, technology, pop culture, you name it — the tune was consistent: You are stronger together than you are alone. Here is an overview of some of the contributing factors to creating this highly collaborative generation:

Fatherhood and Motherhood:
Millennials have been told that they are important and contributing members of the family and that they should speak up and share their opinions.
The eldest child, the child of the family, the girl, the boy – it does not matter. Parents tell their children that each person’s unique voice is important when making family decisions.
Boomer parents wanted their children to play “cute” and enrolled them in sports activities where the goal was less about winning, and more about being part of the team (hence, the award-sharing trend).

Education:
Millennials have grown up working on group projects.
They learned to lean on each other and found safety in the buddy or latch system (a supervised after-school program).
Funding for after-school programs rose in the mid-1990s, further enhancing group activities.
Technology:
The Internet has opened up the world to cooperative games.
From chat rooms to Facebook to Yelp, social media has created a platform to “hang out” with your friends and outsource ideas and opinions.
Online tools allowed virtual collaboration so you don’t have to be physically present to be able to harness the power of collaboration.
Newspaper headlines:
They say that there is nothing quite like uniting a common enemy, and that the tragedy of 9/11 was a united cry against the horrors and injustices of terrorism.
The fear of school shootings encouraged students to stick together and not ostracize any member of the community.
Captain Planet, Bill Nye, Verne Jolly – Programming encouraged children to come together as a generation against climate change and reinforced the idea that only by bringing their voices together can make a difference.

Pop culture:
Girl groups and boy groups exploded during their formative years, everything from the Backstreet Boys to the Spice Girls to Destiny’s Child – groups have been around.
The choice of the group was popular among popular TV shows: Boy Meets World, Saved by the Bell, Friends, Seinfeld, The Real World.
Arguably the most famous hero of all time, Harry Potter, became so because of his team. He couldn’t do it alone. Compare his hero metaphor with Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games, defining the next generation.
From the past to the present: How the effects of millennial collaboration are playing out in the workplace now
Millennials will
Desire for collaborative team-based projects
Feel free to cooperate with leadership as well as colleagues
Diverse collaborators accept the group more easily
Be very open to mentorship programs, but expect to contribute something to the partnership
You may struggle to make decisions without consulting the group
Want to build consensus among the group