Skip to main content

Millennials Who Manage

Drawing on extensive research, including a comprehensive, original workplace survey and in-depth interviews with Millennial managers, Millennials Who Manage, offers teaches Millennial readers how to overcome workplace perceptions and become great leaders.

Chip Espinoza and Joel Schwarzbart are the authors of the new book, and Espinoza was kind enough to share his answers the following questions about topics he covers in his book.

Question:  Millennials have been labeled as “the entitled” generation. What can they do to overcome such a negative perception?

Espinoza:  The best way to overcome being perceived as entitled is to show appreciation and gratitude. If your manager invites you to a meeting, send her a thank you card or e-mail detailing what you learned and your appreciation. Millennials have to be intentional about it because it does not come naturally. That is not a knock on them. They have grown up in a world in which authority figures are for them and are committed to their success. They expect authority figures to help them. Unfortunately for them, that is not necessarily how they will experience their first manager. So when someone goes out of the way to help you—don’t expect it, acknowledge it!

QuestionWhat advice would you give to a Millennial who has just been promoted into management?

Espinoza:  Two things are going to immediately happen when you get promoted, 1) your peers are going to distance themselves from you, and 2) you are going to worry about disappointing the person who promoted you.

My advice is to accept the inevitability of both. The relational dynamics with your friends at work will go through redefinition. It is not fun but it will not last long. Don’t react to comments like…you have changed or you are a brown nose. Also, if you are growing as a leader you are probably going to disagree with your boss and trigger disappointment or displeasure. However, if you don’t find your own managerial leader voice, you will be perceived as inauthentic to the people you lead. I am not saying that it is wrong to try to please your manager but when that becomes your primary concern you will lose the respect of your peers and ultimately the person you are trying to impress.

When we asked older workers who report to Millennial managers what advice do they have for young managers this is what they had to say:
  • Listen
  • Be respectful
  • Be patient
  • Be a learner
  • Treat employees as equals
  • Lead by example
  • Don’t take on too much
  • Be confident

Chip Espinoza

QuestionWhat are Millennials' strengths as managers and leaders?

Espinoza:  I will begin with what people managed by Millennials listed as strengths. 
  • They are relatable.
  • They have a fresh perspective.
  • They are open-minded.
  • They have energy and enthusiasm.
  • They understand new technologies.
  • They are helpful.
  • They are understanding.

Here are a few of the verbatim remarks that characterize the aforementioned list.
  • “Generally, the younger management tends to be less focused on micromanagement, and more focused on team building.”
  • “The person will probably have a different perspective and approach than an older manager and may know more about recent developments and newer techniques or technologies.”
  • “They are more open minded and willing to change.”
  • “They are more ‘with the times’ and can relate to using technology that can make work easier and more efficient.”
  • “They don't think you're stupid just because of your age or inexperience, at least they give you a shot to PROVE that you can do the job (or prove that you are stupid). They can explain things a little easier—training always goes smoother because they tend to understand what they are teaching instead of just reading out of a book.”
  • “Currently, they are a breath of fresh air and much more trusting of all members in our group, who are adults with a lot of knowledge and experience. The previous manager of my current workgroup was approximately the same age, but was a micro-manager.”
  • “It feels less formal. I can speak in my own vernacular and it gets across (and vice versa). My manager being close in age also means that she can identify with what I'm experiencing in my own career development more than older managers would be.”
  • “The positive about being managed by someone under 35 is their attitude and fresh perspective.”
  • “Energy, enthusiasm, energy, enthusiasm, energy, enthusiasm—to the 10th power.”

QuestionYou write that Millennials are poised to become the greatest generation of managerial leaders ever. What makes you believe this?  

Espinoza:  You don’t have to convince a Millennial of the value of emotional intelligence, empowerment, employee surveys, adaptive leadership, training, team building, or giving timely feedback.

Many organizations have manager expectation modules so we decided to select one and survey employees managed by Builders/Silents, Baby Boomers, GenX, and Millennials. We landed on the Google People Analytics Team’s eight characteristics of a “high quality” manager.
  • Good coach
  • Empowers the team
  • Expresses interest in, and concern for, team members’ success and well-being
  • Is productive and results oriented
  • Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
  • Helps with career development
  • Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
  • Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team[i]

Millennials have been socialized to work in teams to a greater extent than previous generations. Millennials see coaching as an important part of the supervisor-employee relationship, and they shun the hierarchical, power-oriented management role that is more typical of older generations. Assuming that they treat others in the way that they would like to be treated, we expect Millennials to manage with a low power orientation—that is, a more inclusive and transparent style of delegation and oversight in which authority is de-emphasized and constructive feedback is expected.

The survey results for Millennial managers exceeded our expectations. We anticipated that they would do well, but we were actually quite fascinated. The 25- to 34-year-olds were ahead of all other age groups in empowering their employees. Overall, 25- to 34-year-olds came out either first or second on all but two of the dimensions. Consequently, I believe they are poised as a generation to be great managerial leaders.

QuestionWhat can a Millennial do while in college to start to learn how to manage an older person?

Espinoza:  Great question. It may sound elementary but here is my first piece of advice—get comfortable initiating conversation with people older than you. Millennials are the first generation who has not needed an authority figure to access information. Therefore, they do not have a felt need to build relationship with people older than them. About one in five Millennials are comfortable relating to older adults and they happen to be the ones who get promoted first. It makes sense. We tend to trust people with whom we can communicate. If I were in college, I would join a professional organization in the discipline I wanted to pursue (or outside my discipline if one were not available). I would attend meetings and practice engaging older professionals in conversation.

No matter my field of study, I would take a leadership or management class as an elective. It can help shape or clarify the development your leadership perspective. I believe good theory informs good practice and good practice informs good theory.

I once asked the late leadership guru, Warren Bennis, if there were a concept in leader development so simple that he would be reluctant to write about it. Without hesitation he said yes, “Leaders are first-class noticers.” While in college work at becoming a first-class noticer. Leaders are constantly monitoring their environment. Pay attention to the manager-employee exchanges in the grocery store, restaurant, gym, theater, or even at school. Do people seem motivated and engaged in their job or the opposite? If you care, you’re probably going to be a great manager.


Popular posts from this blog

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

Sample Of Solid Business Guiding Principles

I really like these  10 guiding business principles  that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA has lived by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them. Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book,  1001 Ways To Energize Employee s .

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

Good Sample Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

Important Questions To Ask New Hires

   In  Paul Falcone ’s book,  75 Ways For Managers To Hire, Develop And Keep Great Employees , he recommends asking new employees the following questions 30, 60 and 90 days after they were hired:   30-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Why do you think we selected you as an employee? What do you like about the job and the organization so far? What’s been going well? What are the highlights of your experiences so far? Why? Tell me what you don’t understand about your job and about our organization now that you’ve had a month to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Have you faced any unforeseen surprises since joining us that you weren’t expecting?   60-Day One-on-One Follow-Up Questions Do you have enough, too much or too little time to do your work? Do you have access to the appropriate tools and resources? Do you feel you have been sufficiently trained in all aspects of your job to perform at a high level? How do you see your job relating to the organization’s mission and vi

How To Coach Employees Rather Than Supervising Them

Bill Berman  and  George Bradt , authors of the book,  Influence and Impact , explain the importance of helping your employees to understand what their jobs entails, and what the culture expects, so they can do the work you need from them the most.  More importantly, they say that it is better for you as a leader to  coach employees rather than supervise  them. And, as you coach, they recommend you:  Ensure the employee fully understands their job responsibilities. Pave the way for the employee to be successful. Give them the time, resources and encouragement they will need. Help them know themselves better. Consider a personality assessment by a trained evaluator so they understand their styles and preferences. Help them know the business. Ensure they know the organization’s mission, vision and purpose, business strategies and cultural norms. Help them know you. Help them to really understand what you really need from them to make you and the organization successful. Help them know th

How Leaders Build Trust

You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you. Building trust takes  energy, effort and constant attention  to how you act. To help build trust, follow these 16 tips , recommended by author  Susan H. Shearouse : Be honest Keep commitments and keep your word Avoid surprises Be consistent with your mood Be your best Demonstrate respect Listen Communicate Speak with a positive intent Admit mistakes Be willing to hear feedback Maintain confidences Get to know others Practice empathy Seek input from others Say "thank you"

How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose And People

Jenn Lim   is the CEO Of Delivering Happiness, a company she and Tony Hsieh (the late CEO of cofounded to create happier company cultures for a more profitable and sustainable approach to business.  Lim ’s mission is to teach businesses how to create workplaces—led with happiness and humanity—that generate more profit, sustain all people at every level of the organizations, and share how we can make an impact by being true to our authentic selves.  It’s this mission that drove Lim to author her book,  Beyond Happiness, How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose And People For Growth And Impact .  Describing her book, Lim says, “No matter what role you have at your organization, this life-changing guide will enable you to get to the core of who you are, live with purpose through the work you do every day, and spread that power to others in your business and beyond.”   Jenn Lim   Recently, Lim shared these additional insights with us:  Question: What is "Beyond Happiness&q

Flashback: Best New Leadership Book Of 2019

Today's Flashback: A look back to 2019... Each year, after reading and reviewing dozens of new leadership books, I select my pick for the year's  best new leadership book . For 2019, that book is Paul Smith's,  The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell , released this past summer. I selected this book as best for its innovative format, timely and pertinent content, and how easy it is to put what Paul teaches to immediate use as a leader. All of Paul Smith’s three books on storytelling are must-reads for business leaders, salespeople and parents. And,  The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell , is yet another required read for leaders – managers, CEOs and team leaders. “ Every great leader is a great storyteller. And, the first and most important part of being a great storyteller is knowing what stories to tell ,” explains Paul. In fact, “ What stories you tell is more important than how you tell them ,” he adds. Part of an innovative book format from  IgniteReads , Paul’s new book feature

The Four Components That Create Customer Satisfaction

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service : You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction : A perfect product or service Delivered in a caring, friendly manner On time (as defined by the customer) With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit .