Top Tips for Managing Millennial Managers

3rd July 2018

Top Tips for Managing Millennial Managers

The millennials joining your workforce now are employees born between 1980 and 2000, or 1981 and 1999, depending on the source. Unlike the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers, Millennials have developed work characteristics and tendencies from doting parents, structured lives, and contact with diverse people.

And chances are, if you haven’t been managed by a millennial yet, you will be soon. A recent survey found that 83% of people said they have seen millennials managing Gen-X and Baby Boomer employees in their workplace. But, 45% still think that these young managers have a negative impact on the company culture. So what’s the best way to manage Millennials that are themselves managers?

Prepare for new styles of management

Millennials have grown up with social media and technology that has become second nature to most of them. They’re accustomed to fine-tuning their personal brand, showing off the side of themselves they want people to see. Sometimes, this even changes from one social media site to another. And, just as they tune their personal brands, millennial managers will personalise their management techniques as well. They will look to “make their mark”, exploring innovative management styles or changing around established priorities.
Make work flexible

Millennial managers are also well aware of how easy it is for personal lives to bleed into the workplace. Social media and the general news cycle is a 24/7 occurrence, meaning that it’s much easier for personal lives to creep into the workplace more often. This poses a challenge of making sure employees are staying on track. Millennial managers will seek to find ways to be flexible to use this constant feed of information to stay connected.

Millennial workers may turn down managerial or supervisory roles if offered. They look to their own managers or slightly more senior peers, taking note that many of them are often given extra responsibility, but very little additional support. Since they are so focused on work-life balance, they may be wary to commit to a role that doesn’t seem flexible enough.

Change your corporate culture or they will

The future of work isn’t in the 40 hour, 9 to 5 week. Businesses have become more casual, allowing for more flexibility in schedules. This has been enabled thanks to advances in tech. Most of us can work from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection and a smart phone. Even traditionally desk-bound jobs like HR and payroll can be taken care of out of the office.

Millennials are pushing the boundaries of what’s “appropriate” in the workplace. They’re challenging established norms, such as paternity leave, dress codes and corporate wellness programs. They respect the importance of work-life balance, understanding that happy, healthy employees will produce the best results and increase retention rates. They value onboarding and development, because they see in themselves the same desire for personal growth within business.

Ultimately, millennials aren’t concerned with how they will fit into a company. They want to know where the business will fit in their personal narrative. Millennial managers are focused on creating the life they want and ensuring their career doesn’t encroach on that goal.

They may need guidance and mentoring

If you find millennial managers are too lax, it might boil down to an issue with being seen as an authority figure by their peers-turned-subordinates. Some younger managers find it difficult to gain respect after they get promoted. They sometimes find it difficult to gain credibility or establish their authority.

Overnight they go from a co-worker to a boss, and not everyone in the department might be on board. As a result, without the right guidance and mentorship in place, you might find that these managers do become more laid-back, even if only as a way to avoid conflict with employees who may be unhappy with the shift in management.

All of this might sound like millennials are work-shy and demand that the working world change just for them. But, just because your millennial manager might be open to having their team leave work early for regular appointments, fitness classes or to pick their kids up from school, don’t take flexibility as a sign of weakness.

Millennials graduated into a poor economic climate. This means they’ve had to achieve success through solid results, being agile and working hard every day. They don’t settle for less than the best in their own performance, so they won’t settle for less from their team either.

If you’re looking for your future millennial managers, look for those millennials who love the responsibility and the service. Look for those who consistently practice the basics of management with discipline, for those who want to lift people up and make them better. They will likely be your future leaders.

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