In response to recent requests, I am providing a 3-part series of guidelines for Generation Xers and Baby Boomers who report to Millennial managers. The first in the series offered older generations insight into Millennials as hiring managers. This post covers communicating with your Millennial manager.
Communication breakdowns between Millennial Managers and their older direct reports are often the result of a difference in the definition of “initiative.” For Gen Xers and Boomers, taking initiative means “figuring it out” on one’s own, without having to rely on or involve others. Removing one’s boss from the weeds and any unnecessary details, meetings and decisions demonstrates strategic thinking and high performance. In contrast, Millennials equate taking initiative with asking questions and collaboratively engaging one’s boss. As bosses, Millennials expect their direct reports to regularly (as in daily, if not hourly) update them on projects and include them in decision-making.
Older generation employees will have to revisit the meaning of effective employee-supervisor communication and learn to collaborate more closely with their Millennial managers to keep them in the loop. For most, this will be a challenging but valuable exercise.
Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group
Workforce Strategies for the New Economy