Millennial Managers and The Great Expectation


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As the Gen Y and Millennial generation continues to enter the workforce the business world will begin to encounter acurrently very rare species of business person: the Gen Y Manager.  There are a few of them out there, usually high achieving Millennials in their late 20’s and very early 30’s, however it’s difficult to gage what their impact on business has been up to this point.

Considering sheer volume of content about how to hire and how to retain Gen Y as employees, I thought it might beinteresting to explore what the Gen Y manager might look like.  Yes, I realize broad generalizations are exactly that, broad generalizations, but without them I wouldn’t have an article…so save an email tree and don’t tell me I’m painting all of Gen Y with a broad brush.  I know I am. Nevertheless, I think we’ll begin to see the following leadership characteristics become more popular in the next decade as Millennials climb the corporate ladder:

The Always Open Door Policy: Millennials like accessibility, and we make ourselves accessible to our friends and coworkers.  We find unnecessary steps between ourselves and the person we need to communicate with annoying, and, as managers, Millennials are unlikely to create communications barriers between themselves and their employees.

Gen Y does not see a point to bureaucracy; they feel stifled by it. Gen Y managers will encourage an immediate response environment.  They will prefer hearing about and dealing with issues as they come up, rather than forcing employees through an information gatekeeper.

This doesn’t mean that the personal assistant and secretary will disappear; it simply means that their role will transition from gatekeeper to facilitator.  In the collaborative Gen Y environment, productivity means accessibility, and the door will always be open.

The Great Collaborator: Millennials grew up doing book reports with study groups, playing soccer with their friends, and getting 4 foot tall trophies for 6th place.   They’re highly collaborative and generally adverse to intense personal competition.

Gen Y managers will work closely with their employees and encourage a collaborative work environment. Gen Y managers will be part of the team, and take a direct leadership role only when necessary.

The ‘everyone’s a winner’ attitude will have transformed itself.  Millennials understand that the ‘everyone’s a winner’ attitude does not translate to the business world.  The attitude towards competition will be product and experience based instead of ‘winner’ based.  Millennials will encourage their teams to focus on producing a fantastic product rather than simply encouraging them to win or beat the competition.  The outcome will be the same; good managers with good teams will beat their competition. However, the focus of the groups will be on the process of innovation and creating a fantastic product, not simply ‘winning.’

It’s What You Do, Not How You Do It: As Millennials begin to occupy the corner office, we’ll see a shift in how work gets done.  Focus will be placed on the quality and impact of the work, not the method in which it was executed.

Gen Y has a healthy respect for quality work, and a healthy distaste for busy work and bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.  This will translate into a results based work environment.  You like writing outside?  Get out of the office?  You work best late at night?  Fine, as long as I have a great product ready to present at the meeting on Friday.  Employee’s personal work styles will be respected and encouraged by the Gen Y manager.

Don’t think for a second that this means you can slip by with shoddy performance.  Lenience on working style will mean, if anything, a higher work quality standard for employees of the Gen Y manager.

The Casual Workaholic: Gen Y managers will blur the line between work and play.  This will promote a culture of “casual workaholism” in the Gen Y managed workforce.  Millennials value personal time, families and the need to be outside the office, however this does not prevent them from being, in some way, constantly connected to the office.

The continuously connected lifestyle of Gen Y means that, for many, it is just as easy to work from home as it is to work at the office, and Millennials take advantage of this situation.  Gen Y managers will answer work related emails at any time of day, and will happily spend their off hours addressing work related topics. As Gen Y managers define what the office is, it will become harder and harder for their employees to leave the office.

These are just some great tidbits from the Gen Y corner office.

Learn more about this from GenCubed.

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