Managing millennials a challenge for Sporting Kansas City coach - KCTV5

Managing millennials a challenge for Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes

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Peter Vermes is one of Major League Soccer's most successful managers, but when he sensed that he was not communicating well with his younger players, he decided to do something about it.  (AP) Peter Vermes is one of Major League Soccer's most successful managers, but when he sensed that he was not communicating well with his younger players, he decided to do something about it. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The term millennials has been in the news a lot in recent years and not always in a complimentary way.

It refers to the 70 million Americans that were born between 1980 and 1999. That generation is generally thought to present some real challenges.

If you Google the term "managing millennials," hundreds and hundreds of results pop up. There are quotes like, "Why don't my Millennials work as hard as I do?" And "the best way to deal with millennials is to not hire them."

One local manager has made an in-depth study of millennials, but he doesn't work at a company like Sprint or Cerner.

He manages Sporting Kansas City.

"I did some case studies on millennials," coach Peter Vermes said. "I tried to get more familiar with how they tick."

Vermes is one of Major League Soccer's most successful managers, but when he sensed that he was not communicating well with his younger players, he decided to do something about it.

"I think, in a lot of respects, my eyes were opened," he said.

While he won't divulge where he studied millennials, the former player reports that he was told millennials want mentors, not bosses, and that led him to alter the way he deals with his players.

"I don't just tell them what they did wrong," he said, "I actually ask them to tell me what they saw or what could they maybe do differently, so I'm not just telling them what to do."

Vermes said he now spends more time talking to his guys, making certain they're on the same page.

"And I think that connection has no doubt created a better relationship," he said.

Why are millennials so different?

Vermes said improved technology has given them the ability to expect instant gratification.

"If they miss a television show from last night," he points out, "They can get on their phones and instantaneously see it today. If they want to watch a movie, they can watch a movie. If they want to buy something, they can have it bought and delivered the next day via Amazon."

But building a team doesn't happen instantly. It takes time.

"The relationships they have, not only with myself but with their teammates, is going to take some time," Vermes said. "And it's going to take work on both parties."

The experts report that it all goes back to creating a strong company culture.

"The first piece of that is you have to decide what that culture is," Vermes said. "The second piece is you have to recruit people who actually fit into that."

One website refers to millennials as "spoiled, entitled workers, " but Vermes does not agree.

"I come across so many people who are incredibly motivated, incredibly hard working, dedicated to what they do," he said.

And Vermes gives his players the ultimate compliment. 

"I'll be honest with you. I'd love to play with this team, because I think it's a committed group," he said.

Vermes has won championships as a player and a coach. He has won old-school style. Now, he wants to do it "millennial style."

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