As Baby Boomers retire, Millennials are moving into managerial roles. However, this oft-maligned group, born between 1980 and the mid-1990s, may not be ready to take the reins. “Millennials are not being adequately prepared for management positions,” Beth Knuppel writes for Ere Media, quoting Dan Schawbel, founder of Workplace Trends. “Existing managers will have to motivate and work side-by-side with a generation that is radically different.”
Millennials likely have what it takes to manage well, William Railton writes for City A.M., citing a survey published this fall by leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman. “Leaders aged 30 or below are actually more effective than those aged 40 or above,” Railton writes. “When ranked for overall leadership effectiveness, 44 percent of the younger group were placed in the top quartile by reviews from their peers, while only 20 percent of their older peers made the cut. Moreover, the younger generation outperformed elders in each of the 49 leadership behaviors assessed.”
Here are three ways to encourage the best leadership skills in your youngest managers:
Set clear expectations
“Every organization has unwritten rules for getting things done, but the companies with the best leaders explicitly define their approach and include cultural assimilation in their managerial onboarding,” Knuppel writes. Companies should let Millennial managers know what they expect and write down its own management philosophy.
Millennials may need especially clear expectations on how to use various communication tools, and which mediums are appropriate for certain managerial duties. “To avoid…faux pas, establish clear guidelines about how certain types of news should be delivered and what appropriate communication looks like,” Knuppel writes.
Play to their strengths
Millennials have a strong grasp on technology and are excellent at looking past, “We’ve always done it this way” to find efficient solutions. They’re also direct and don’t necessarily believe in work for work’s sake, writes Kathryn Tuggle for The Street. “Millennial managers are good at keeping it brief, and are more likely to check in with their employees via text or email than via lengthy in-person meetings,” Tuggle writes.
“Millennial managers aren’t big believers in traditional 9-to-5 working hours, but they also respect family and personal time…Flexible schedules and remote working options are a part of most progressive organizations today and are often a top concern for Millennial managers.”
Harnessing these strengths will allow your Millennial managers to thrive while leading teams who also value these options at work.
Try reverse mentoring
Reverse mentoring programs allow younger employees to teach executives, write Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd for the Harvard Business Review. The duos are able to forge relationships that, in the long run, better prepare Millennials to manage and lead.