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How Should Millennials Handle Management Jobs?

Ian Cameron Oct 26, 2013 1:38:00 AM

Management JobsIf you’re a member of Gen Y you may find that demographics work in your favour. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that people born between 1981 and 2000 will soon outnumber Boomers in the workplace—as early as 2015. Boomers are retiring in droves: 10,000 Boomers turn 65 every day.

This has created great opportunities for Gen Y Millennials, who are gaining management jobs. However, many millennials are now managing people younger than themselves. Maintaining credibility and respect in the workplace can become a pressing problem.

If you are nervous about a new promotion, discuss management training options with your HR department, which could give you skills and confidence.

How can millennials win respect? Brad Karsh, who co-authored Manager 3.0: A Millennial's Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management, has some advice for Gen Y managers.

Prove yourself

It is natural to be nervous with a tough transition like this. The Gen Y manager is leaving their comfort zone and facing fresh challenges.

You may feel that your team resents you, but do they? As Karsh says, you may be imagining resentment. Your team may be happy to work for a younger manager—providing you are competent.

To this end you must prove to your team and yourself that you deserve the new role. Your team may indeed have more experience, but experience alone does not make a good leader.

Be patient

Winning your team’s respect could take time—as much as a year, according to Karsh. A good manager will be patient. Work hard to make good decisions in a timely manner, and promptly resolve any problems.

Relationship-building

Your team has experience which could be crucial to the success of your entire department or company. Millennials are generally skilled at collaborating and relationship-building.

A good manager will ask for the team’s input. The final decision is yours, but always acknowledge your team’s point of view and input. This can go a long way to appease your critics.

Don’t forget that you are in charge of the team. As Karsh says, “managers should aim to be both respected and liked — but if you have to pick one, respect is better."

Technology

Face to face meetings are an important part of team bonding, Karsh says. Your team may not be as comfortable using technology like email or texting for building relationships. Meeting face to face, too, will let you read body language. It’s also an opportunity for you to show how relaxed and confident you are.

Karsh advises that you schedule individual meetings with each of your direct reports. Discuss their career goals and ambitions, as well as the specific projects. Find out what motivates them.

Finally, you must remember that you were promoted because your managers believe you can do the job.

Sources used in researching this article include CNN Money: Employees older than you are? How to win respect


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Topics: Leadership development

Ian Cameron

Written by Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron is the Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute®. He has more than 20 years of Human Resource and Organizational Development consulting experience. Throughout his career Ian’s focus has been on helping organizations realize their goals through their people and helping people live their passion through their work.