by Ericka Gordon | 4/5/16
As a millennial I sometimes feel like a lab rat. The number of articles, columns and blogs on the internet that focus on trying to describe the perfect formula for how to manage millennials is a little shocking. As I read through all these articles and blogs I get a mental picture in my head. I envision all of us millennials sitting on one side of the glass and the older generations on the other side studying us, writing down our every move.
It’s odd to think of yourself in that way, but it’s sort of true. The economy is so focused on us. From a workplace standpoint and certainly from a consumer standpoint, millennials are the main attraction right now. I’ve mentioned before, everyone wants to know our thoughts. You’re all so interested in what we want and how we operate. As usual, I am here to answer all your burning questions. So, I asked myself and several of my peers questions that would help describe a millennial’s dream boss. Here’s what I found:
1. Works with me, not against me
Almost everyone mentioned they wanted a boss who promotes teamwork, but one person took it a step further. She said she wants a boss who advocates for her. I thought that was great. Teamwork should involve the entire team. That includes the manager. Don’t be the boss that makes it difficult for your employees to get ahead. When they shine you shine. As your employee, millennials want to feel supported by you.
2. Values my opinion
There’s nothing that motivates a young employee more than having their boss ask their opinion on important matters. “What do you think would be the best option for this?” or “How do you think this is working?” Questions like these are music to our ears!
3. Demonstrates consideration
Another word that came up a lot was understanding. Being able to speak with your boss about your concerns without feeling judgment is very important to millennials. One person I spoke with told me her boss is overworked to the point where he loses sight of how his employees feel. Having a boss who is willing to listen and address these concerns is essential to the workplace environment.
4. Is experienced
I personally view my boss as a teaching source. I want to learn as much as I can from you. Most millennials jump at the opportunity to expand their knowledge and hone their craft. As our boss, we expect you to basically teach us everything you know. One person I talked with had this to say, “I just got a new boss within the last month who is bringing lots of great experience to our company that we have not had access to previously. I have so much to learn from her that I am really excited to expand my knowledge with all that she has to offer.”
5. Has strong communication skills
Ahhh, the ever-present need for good communication. We’re young and still learning the ropes, so don’t beat around the bush. We want clear and direct instructions. It’s better to over explain than under explain. This might sound surprising coming from a millennial, but sometimes email isn’t enough. Emailing is very similar to texting and we all know how things can get lost in translation via text. Email is no different. Sometimes we’d rather you pick up the phone or make that trip down the hall to be sure your message is received correctly.
6. Is not the King (or Queen) of delegating
One of my biggest pet peeves in life is a micromanager. It makes my job a thousand times more stressful when my superior is too involved in my assignment. Relinquish control and let us make your work life a little easier. We got this.
7. Provides encouraging feedback
When you see improvements in your employee’s skill level tell them. Who doesn’t love positive feedback? We like to know our hard work is appreciated and that it’s worth it.
Well, there you have it folks, straight from the horse’s mouth. These are just seven of what I’m sure is a long list of desired characteristics for a millennial’s dream boss, but it’s a start. I honestly don’t think its rocket science. I think, for the most part, millennials want the same things anyone would want out of a boss. The real difference is in the desired culture. Now, that’s something we can explore. Stay tuned for next month’s column where I’ll break down a millennial’s dream office culture.