Survival Guide for Millennial Managers
We all have seen countless articles offering tips and insights on how to manage millennials and how to assimilate them into the company culture. Has the time finally come for us to accept that just like any other generation before (or after) millennials are different from their predecessors? Have we not yet established that in order to integrate any new generation successfully into the workforce you have to adapt company culture, regardless of how unnecessary or inconvenient it seems to you? We think so!
Have you ever stopped to think about what a millennial is to do when faced with having to manage baby boomers, wannabe millennials over 35 and other creatures? We have and, based on our own professional experience, are happy to share this survival guide for all millennial overachievers.
- Surrender fear of challenges and changes
Most millennial overachievers aspiring to bring around positive changes to the business world should forfeit fear of challenging the current regime and equip themselves with experience, data, determination, attention, success cases, patience, and well though-out KPIs.
If you want to introduce a new process or template, find evidence to compliment your gut feeling to back it up, pitch your idea to your manager. If they are not flexible enough to review your ideas without bias, pitch it to their managers. But when you pitch, do it on a level deserving of a young, professional managerial.
As a millennial in a managerial position, you are likely to have a group of entry-level or very junior colleagues reporting to you. Sometimes, you can have an interesting experience of managing people much older than yourself. Regardless of their age, your main managerial responsibility should be making your team efficient and successful while advancing your own career.
For most people, it is incredibly difficult to delegate, teach how to execute something instead of doing it all themselves, and take responsibility for the final product their team has produced (sometimes owning up to failures).
If you are inclined to do the work all by yourself rather than delegating it to people with relevant talents and experience, you will be buried under a pile of work that won’t let you advance very far.
Do not be afraid to support and encourage people to develop their talents and to work on improving their weaknesses, regardless of their age, gender or other background. Watch and explore how differently people operate, what makes them tick, what effects the same managerial approach can have on different employees and adapt your practical approach accordingly.
Do not to be afraid to demand high quality results and impeccable work ethic from all colleagues, regardless of whether they supervise or report to you.
- Knowledge is power
Lifelong learning is what we recommend everyone to aspire to. When we talk about advancing your professional skills, you have to be pragmatic when expecting what training your company can provide to you and your team and what independent studies anyone would be given extra time off for.
Forming a study group of likeminded colleagues who want to learn a new language, hiring a tutor to come to your office and negotiating a conference room for your lessons is highly encouraged. Moreover, if the new language you want to learn can open new opportunities for your company, you can even negotiate financial support for your studies.
However, if you just got an economics/physics/advanced maths degree and your company sells paper, the new shiny diploma of yours alone, provides no logical grounds for a raise (also, what are you doing in a paper company with a diploma in economics?!) Moreover, you are responsible to manage what extra-curricular activities your company can afford to invest to: encouraging your subordinates in an IT/consultancy company to take a course on data analysis would be a better idea than allowing them to take one extra day off weekly to study butterflies.
Invest professional time and money to hone your, and your subordinates’ knowledge and skills relevant to the company and the industry. Encourage your subordinates and colleagues to do it, too, but stay within the reasonable limits of professional development.
- Good things take time
You might be 100% sure you have the CEO potential and would manage a project or a department better than your current colleagues. But just like losing 50 pounds takes longer than a week, growing into a ninja manager usually takes slightly longer than six months or even one year.
It will take time, countless successes and failures as a team leader, managing the whole process from A to Z, rather than a part of it, before you become someone who can actually manage people and projects. Your employer will also need a continuous affirmation of your abilities to grow, take responsibility, deliver results and manage projects, people, or clients.
Do not think that if you have not been offered a more senior position during your first (or even second) year, you are undervalued. Brace yourself, learn the ways of people around you, see how you can make them better, and show your boss how amazing you are at doing this on a daily basis.