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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Reaching Up and Out: How Millennial Managers Can Effectively Enable Older Workers

Reaching Up and Out: How Millennial Managers Can Effectively Enable Older Workers

By Rishav Gupta, CEO, iCoachFirst
If you look to Mark Zuckerberg for management inspiration and prefer to give your direct reports shout-outs on a company-wide Slack channel, odds are you are a millennial manager.
Although millennials may now be a majority in the overall workforce, they’re still coming into their own as managers. Only about 28 percent of millennials are now managers, but they have big plans for the future: research from Deloitte shows that 53 percent dream of being the leader or most senior executive at their current company. As those dreams become reality, more millennials will manage older and more experienced employees. After all, baby boomers and Gen Xers still make up about 30 and 35 percent of the workforce, respectively.
Rest assured there are ways to overcome the challenges that come with managing older workers, including having tough conversations with employees who have been in the workforce for 30 or more years. Here are some strategies for building a better rapport and enabling employees’ top performance:
Ditch the Desire to Be Authoritative
One of the worst ways to garner respect is to demand it. Instead, be a leader who builds a foundation based on trust, teamwork, integrity and transparency. This type of leadership coaching is not only more effective, but it also comes naturally to many millennials, who seek it out in their own managers and mentors.
While everyone’s coaching mindset is unique, the qualities that most employees look for in a coach are remarkably similar. Employees want leaders and coaches who set clear benchmarks, provide training, give regular and immediate feedback and help employees find purpose in the workplace. It's also important to align coaching goals to the goals of the broader organization, so that the goals you set for your team align with the vision and direction of the organization.
Tap Technology Selectively

Your position as a member of the first generation of digital natives most likely weaves into how you approach work and collaborate with colleagues. But instead of firing off a quick IM, try stopping by an employee’s desk to discuss the project at hand. It will go a long way for those who entered the workforce before the days of hyperconnectivity and value more personal, face-to-face relationships.
Many older employees are surprisingly open to embracing tools so that they can share knowledge, garner feedback and put forth new ideas. To leverage the full power of social and mobile collaboration tools, ensure those tools can be integrated into existing workflow channels so they are not viewed as disruptive and make feedback a two-way street. When recognition and feedback flows in every direction, employees stay engaged, focused and productive. 
Be Flexible
Varied generational views and attributes means you’ll need to be flexible in managing a blended workforce and adapt to different work styles. This includes recognizing your own desire for flexibility—for example, working remotely to accommodate personal commitments may be new to your direct reports who are accustomed to a more traditional work schedule.
One of the best ways to ensure everyone is comfortable with different work styles is to get aligned around the same set of goals. These goals should be agreed upon by all team members and revisited regularly to remain relevant in the face of evolving business realities. It is your job to help employees see the link between daily work and overall goal achievement, which is best done through a mix of continuous micro-conversations and check-ins that ensure transparency, as well as tools to provide longer lines of sight into progress. 

As a millennial, you have already been part of the complete upending of the American workforce as it was long known. That transformation will continue as you take on increased leadership roles, and increasingly, it will be your responsibility to not only manage performance, but also to enable it.

1 comment:

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