By 2025, millennials are expected to make up a whopping 75% of the workforce. As the generation born between 1981 and 1996, the oldest millennial is around 40 years old. This means that millennials are increasingly advancing in the workplace as managers and leaders, gaining experience and expertise to move up the corporate ladder.
Unfortunately, research shows that young millennial managers can burn out, mainly because they struggle with delegating. In fact, 73% of millennial managers have experienced decreased productivity due to burnout, and 32% say they struggle with delegating work.
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What Makes Millennial Managers Effective?
They Have Diverse Skill Sets
Millennial managers are more likely to be skilled at many different things, making them a jack-of-all-trades in the workplace. This helps them effectively manage a wide variety of employees because they can recognize everyone’s different talents. This also means millennial managers often have a broader version of success.
The Challenge: Having a diverse skill set is useful, but it can also lead to micro-management. Because millennials understand how a specific job can be done, they may be more likely to be more critical of the end result.
They Embody Strong Values
The Deloitte Millennial Survey found that 64% of millennial managers rely on their values to guide their workplace decision-making. 62% of millennials would also be willing to take a pay cut to work for a trusted company that aligns with their values.
The Challenge: This means that profit margins and target revenue may not necessarily be a huge priority to millennials, which may not be regarded positively by the rest of the workplace.
They Can Virtually Manage
Millennial managers are 28% more likely to hire remote workers, and almost 70% allow their staff to work remotely. This encourages flexibility and shows off millennials’ adept skills at communicating across different virtual channels.
The Challenge: Due to the constant virtual environment as a result of remote work, there may be some communication barriers, especially when it comes to resolving conflict or providing feedback.
They Offer Increased Feedback
Whether an employee or a manager, millennials place a high value on feedback. Instead of an annual review, millennial managers may want to touch base with employees weekly or bi-weekly.
The Challenge: These frequent check-ins can quickly lead to micro-management. The quality of the feedback may not be great, especially if done virtually through an email.
They Are Great at Collaboration
Growing up in an environment where team and group-based activities are encouraged, millennials are more likely to work together as a team rather than directly giving orders to employees.
The Challenge: Sometimes, the line between manager and employee can be blurred. Working with someone you consider a friend can make it difficult to manage conflicts with them. Fortunately, we have compiled some tips and advice for millennial managers to leverage your skills, address your challenges, and foster a better workplace culture.
Management Strategies for Millennials
Encourage collaboration and communication to minimize micromanagement.
Millennials have a diverse, jack-of-all-trades skill set. However, to ensure that millennial managers don’t micromanage their employees, it is essential to encourage team-based problem-solving. As managers, millennials should be receptive to feedback and actively seek this feedback from their employees. If your employees say you’re micromanaging them, listen and take the necessary steps to improve the situation.
Find a balance between personal values and company values.
Use your personal values to guide decisions. These value-based decisions can apply in corporate governance practices or in everyday workplace culture—however, keep your company’s bottom line in mind. After all, guiding the company with your values isn’t possible if the company goes bankrupt.
Encourage face-to-face communication.
While flexible hours, good work-life balance, and working from home are all part of the remote worker’s lifestyle, it can be beneficial to get some in-person time with the manager. Having a flexible workplace is great for employee retention, but don’t let that come at the expense of good communication.
Encouraging face-to-face meetings, whether virtual or in-person, can improve workplace culture. Rather than leaving things up to interpretation or risking potential miscommunication over a vaguely worded email or text message, face-to-face communication strengthens relationships in the workplace and can provide clarity for employees and managers.
Be receptive to employee feedback.
Frequent check-in meetings with employees can lead to micro-managing. This is why it is crucial to foster a safe and welcoming workplace environment where your employees will feel comfortable giving you feedback as a millennial manager. To minimize miscommunication, it is better to have these meetings face-to-face rather than text messaging or emailing.
Manage conflict directly.
Although you may have a great relationship with your employees, sometimes you may have to provide them with constructive criticism. Rather than being passive-aggressive or brushing the problem off, it is more beneficial to face the problem head-on. Don’t hide behind a screen; face-to-face communication can help you be genuine and clear about your expectations and concerns.
Focus on mentoring over management.
Rather than micromanaging your employees, try to look at it through a mentorship lens. Create a more positive workplace culture by inspiring your employees, empowering them to succeed, and leading by example.
Delegate your work.
To prevent burnout, millennial managers must learn to delegate their work. This could be done through mentorship; having someone you mentor that you can delegate tasks to can help them develop professionally.
Improve soft skills and invest in coaching.
Millennial managers must have soft skills in order to manage more effectively.
Invest in coaching on these topics:
- Conflict management
- Emotional intelligence
- Giving critical feedback
- Productive and efficient team leadership
- Motivating employees
- Delegating work
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Highlights and Challenges of Millennial Managers
Millennial managers have great attributes and skill sets to help them manage the workplace, including diverse knowledge in many different areas, strong values when choosing companies, good virtual management skills, an increased need for feedback, and excellent teamwork and collaboration skills. However, these positive traits can also come with some challenges, such as micromanaging, lack of priority towards profit margins and the bottom line, barriers to effective communication, and even conflict avoidance. Luckily, we have some tips to help address these challenges:
- Encourage collaboration and communication to minimize micromanagement
- Find a balance between personal values and company values
- Encourage face-to-face communication
- Be receptive to employee feedback
- Manage conflict directly; don’t avoid it or be passive-aggressive
- Focus on mentoring over management
- Delegate your work—perhaps to a mentee
- Improve soft skills and invest in coaching
Let Us Help
In addition to advising millennials on management strategies, Imagine Better Solutions also helps with influencer relations, employee retention, and corporate governance. As a company that strives to be a one-stop shop for ease of management, we have all of your HR needs covered.