5 Things Every Boss Can Learn From Millennials and What Millennials Can Learn From Bosses

By Allen Podraza posted 01-09-2016 17:37


 A while back I read a great article in Forbes written by a millennial titled 5 Things Every Boss Should Know About Working With Millennials.  Here are my thoughts after reading the article.

 I think this title should have been 5 Things Every Boss Can Learn About Millennials and 5 Things Every Millennial Can Learn About Working With Their Bosses (sounds like a book opportunity).  First, let me say that I do not believe all millennials fall into the behavior described in the Forbes article. I have had exceptional millennial staff.  I also have had not so great millennial staff. I have actually learned some great things from my millennial staff and close millennial colleagues and friends.

I believe we all need to attempt to understand each other and work well together.  I suggest a title change to the Forbes article because it is not only on the bosses shoulders to know their millennial staff. The millennial staff also needs to take on the responsibility to also get to know their boss.

The author mentions how millennials aren't keen on grunt work. I appreciate that and have had millennial staff make great contributions and add significant value to my department.  But guess what millennials?  There is always going to be grunt work and things people will consider grunt work no matter how high your position is in an organization. And as the author mentioned, doing the grunt tasks can actually teach millennials more than they realize. Millennials go through an interview process with their potential new boss before they are hired.  I know for me and in probably most cases, it is that time where the potential boss goes through an explanation of the job responsibilities, even the "GRUNT" work.  If you are determined not to do grunt work, then is the time to make your feelings known, not after your hire. That will save you and the boss both a lot of heartache. There is no point in taking a job or staying at a job that is not a good match.

The article also talks about how millennials certainly aren't shy.  Again I appreciate because speaking up builds a good relationship with the boss, but the author is correct in stating that the key is how and when one speaks up. I have worked with millennial staff that has this technique down to a tee and their contributions are so welcome.  They make me think of things in entirely different light bringing better results for the department.  I have also sat in meetings where I have witnessed millennials speak up  in a manner that comes across like they are talking down to their boss.

The author also states how millennials want to be left alone with their technology.  OMG, I am not a millennial and I feel the same exact way.  I love my technology.  I have the latest IPad, IPhone, portable charger, portable scanner, etc.  Please don't bother me.  Not!  Guess what millennials? Not possible, if you want to be a valuable employee to your organization. Your success is not based on being the best at social media, texting, blogging (all things I love).  It is also based on your everyday verbal and interpersonal skills. You need to greet people daily and develop good communication skills with all levels of staff to succeed.

I realize I come from a different generation that basically did what the boss requested if I wanted to remain employed. A generation that clearly understands that one of the major things that contributes to your success in the office, is your relationship with your boss and others.  These things can be accomplished in a way where you can still be part of the process, have your voice heard and respected.  Millennial or not.

I started out my career in the business world as a mail boy (yes that is what they called them then) working for Mr. Hewitt of Hewitt Associates, a man I highly respected. I grew into a management position at Hewitt and currently have a Director level position working for one of the largest and most prestigious organizations in the world.  I got to this place by doing the grunt work, learning from my bosses, doing things that technically were not my job (hate when people say that), showing my bosses respect, shutting up at the right time, speaking at appropriate times, not being brash and overstepping, and following the hierarchy.  

Call me old but I would not do it any other way.  I actually would suggest the same for anyone whether they are 25 or 62.

What do you think? 

#Career #WorkRelationships #millennials