This is part 2 of a series on the contentious dynamic between Generation X bosses and Millennial direct reports. Part 1 focused on the Millennial generation and provided Gen X bosses with strategies to manage their Millennial employees. This post focuses on the Gen X experience and provides Millennials with tactics for managing their Gen X bosses.
Here are some strategies for Millennials to manage their Gen X Bosses more effectively:
Demonstrate Initiative: Gen Xers were "latchkey kids" used to doing things on their own without supervision. They expect the same of their direct reports.
- Show your boss that you can solve problems with minimal guidance
- If you complete an assignment, ask for additional work to provide value
- Accept that sometimes you have to work late to complete projects
Follow Up: Growing up, Gen Xers became risk-averse from the constant uncertainty of the energy crisis, the Cold War and AIDS. To mitigate threats at work, Gen Xers need to know that deadlines are being met.
- Provide your boss with progress reports at regular intervals
- If you make a request and don't hear back, follow up to keep the project on deadline
- Let your boss know immediately if you won’t meet a deadline and what you plan to do about it
Mind Their Time: Gen X managers balance competing demands to meet business goals. Under constant pressure to "do more with less" they often don't have time for daily coaching to their direct reports.
- Consolidate questions to email or scheduled meetings instead of interrupting your boss multiple times a day
- Be patient if your boss hasn't responded quickly to your email
- Avoid phone/tablet use during meetings with your boss to show active listening
My whitepaper, Gen X Bosses vs. Millennial Workers – The Contentious Divide, addresses this topic in depth and provides targeted solutions for Gen X bosses and Millennial employees for improving performance and retention. Feel free to download it or contact me directly for more insight and guidance.
Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy