By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials. And they won’t be filling entry-level positions. They’ll be managers. Here are 3 skills millennial managers need to learn to be successful.
Our millennial managers are changing the face of management in many positive ways. They tend to demonstrate:
• Openness to change. They’ve grown up in an environment where change is normal and so are not phased by it in the workplace. They actively look for new and innovative ways to be more productive and efficient.
• Openness to feedback. Millennials ask for feedback about their performance more often than their older colleagues and seek ways to implement it.
• Results focus. They have a high need for achievement and put a lot of effort into achieving their goals.
• Teamwork and diversity openness Millennial managers want to collaborate and work in teams. Having grown up in a world with infinite information at their fingertips, millennials know that no single person has all the answers, so they embrace teamwork and diversity.
• Flexibility. Our millennials are far more open to flexible working practices than any other generation.
On the other hand, an article in the Harvard Business Review highlighted a number of obstacles that young millennial managers will have to overcome. 3 such areas are:
1. Perceived lack of credibility.
Older employees often view the younger boss as lacking real world experience, as being ‘all about me’ and wanting to rush things.
Overcoming the challenge – Millenniums can counter some of these perceptions by demonstrating a good work ethic, listening to their team and their ideas, and developing trust over time. This might mean millennial managers need to be the first ones in the office in the morning and the last ones out the door at night. They might need to be patient and work towards their promotions instead of expecting them to come within the first few months. It also means they must make an effort to understand their team members individually and work with them accordingly.
A McKinsey report found that managers that demonstrate:
- a caring and supportive style
- recognition and reward of their staff’s accomplishments
- clear objectives and direction
- a clear understanding of each team member’s needs, ambitions and personal style
- a positive and professional demeanour
not only gain greater credibility but experience higher levels of productivity within their teams; which further enhances credibility within the wider organisation. Training for millennial managers in these areas might be beneficial.
2. Managing communication overload.
It’s easy to drown in the never-ending barrage of emails, instant messages, automated status updates and staff interruptions. Whilst many millennials believe they can multi-task, the evidence is overwhelming that multi-tasking leads to poorer outcomes.
Overcoming the challenge – Millennial managers need to adopt a disciplined approach to time management and have processes that allow them to better manage competing priorities. For example, introducing 1:1 meetings with their staff members may be a way of cutting down on constant interruptions. Handling phone calls and emails in batches may be another solution.
3. Managing Conflict.
Constructively addressing conflict can be tricky, irrespective of your age. But for a generation with a reputation for ghosting and blocking, millennial managers may struggle more than most to deal with conflict head on.
Overcoming the challenge – Millennial managers might need to access training on how to manage conflict constructively. It’s not an easy thing to do but having a structure and deeper understanding of what not to do will enable them to strengthen their relationships and elevate their credibility.
With these results in mind, it makes sense to invest in appropriate training and development for millennial managers so that they can contribute to the success of the organisation. If we help them to enhance their skills – particularly the soft skills, they will be able to overcome some of the challenges they face more easily.
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