If you didn’t read the recent TIME Magazine cover story about the Millennial Generation, you probably heard about it. I’m not sure how old the authors are, but two things struck me:
1. It doesn’t put anyone in a very flattering light. Older workers aren’t keeping up with the needs, wants, goals, and habits of the younger workers. Younger workers are self absorbed and not in a good way.
2. This is hardly news. I’ve been conducting programs on the Multigenerational workforce since early 2009. Executives, managers, and supervisors all noticed some alarming trends in the workplace. The old style of managing was not effective with Millennial. They demanded time and attention their bosses were not used to providing. They questioned everything. They were constantly plugged into their phones and computers. And if they were not applauded and promoted in the time frame they had assumed they would be, they left to find greener workplace pastures.
I agree that some of this can be laid at the feet of the generational divide. Every older generation struggles with questions that ends up sounding a lot like “What’s the Matter With Kids Today?” There is frustration on both sides of the divide and there is a rather large gap between what people are told before they come to work and what they are told after they come to work.
Can a manager develop initiative in an employee or do employees acquire initiative on their own? The right answer is “yes!”
It’s great when employees come to us with drive, creativity, and resourcefulness. It’s a wonderful asset for the organization and can be less work for the boss. Good management however, is not about what is easiest for the boss.
The job of the manager is to get work done through others and to see talent and potential and leverage it for organizational goals and objectives. The best know how to provide feedback and coach employees to reflect and think. They focus on motivating the variety of kinds of employees on their team and understand that one size does not fit all.
If a good boss sees an employee who is missing the mark, they know that it is their job to help that employee understand both the standard they need to meet and the gap between it and what is currently being delivered.
A boss who doesn’t understand how to get employees up to speed in the world of work doesn’t understand the job and the challenge it holds. The Millennial generation has had years of not only being self-obsessed but having parents, teachers, coaches, and the media all join in that obsession. Managers are going to need better strategies and skills to get them to pivot a little from that position once they get to work.
Stop complaining and don’t bother crossing your fingers! Deal with issues of improving your management skills head on. And get to it sooner rather than later. Unlike previous generations, Millennials won’t wait around.
And there are no 45-year-old 25 year olds standing behind them. These folks ARE the talent pool.