Okay, I know that people are gonna start getting torqued off if I keep talking about generational stuff, but I am about to talk about something no one is talking about. At least, no one is talking about it right now. Maybe they were talking about it when that movie with Topher Grace and Dennis Quaid came out, but I doubt it. Most people were just excited that Scarlet Johannson was in a watchable film.
Anyway, I was in yet another meeting about how to help boomers and Xers manage millennials and we were talking about communication styles, etc. And I realized that I am seeing the exact opposite problem. What about when millennials are managing boomers and Xers? Then it becomes tricky.
The speaker (who shall remain nameless) and I were talking afterward and I asked him (he himself was in his fifties) why no one was exploring this. After enduring the indignity of him saying: “Well, who’s the millennial, oh YOU?” he mused, warily eyeing my gray streak and mom clothes. Yes me. Strike one.
“Well,” and he peered over his glasses at me “one thing the millennial should not do is act like they know it all.” Phew! Great. Thanks. Um, isn’t that sort of manager 101? (oooh did I just pretend like I knew it all) I nodded eagerly.
“Communicate effectively and definitely talk about your communication styles. . .” and then I got distracted by a cart of muffins.
Let’s just say the generational expert wasn’t a lot of help. So what do Millenials need to focus on when they are managing Xers and Boomers? I will just tell you what I think. It’s basic logic and reasoning. and a flip of the conventional wisdom on how to manage us…
1. Speaker says: Millenials need input and feedback at least once per day.
Maren flips it to manage the elders: I need to not overload my team (boomers and xers) with micromanagement. I should check in with them, as often as they feel they need it, or once per week, if I am dying.
2. Speaker says: Millenials have never lived without technology (the PC et al)
Maren flips it to manage the elders: I need to not expect IMs from my sales team lead. If I want info, I should phone him or send a carrier pigeon.
3. Speaker says: Millennials are entitled.
Maren flips it to manage the elders: (censored). Ensure that my expectations are not so high that generations raised without all of my “productivity enhancing” gear cannot meet them.
So, have any of you dealt with reverse generational stuff? How do you manage people who are older, smart, more experienced than you? How can the generational commentary and research we’re amassing now help when the roles reverse and the echo boomers/millennials/GenYers enter the workforce in full force?
Let’s hear it, and keep it in perspective. After all, Topher got laid off in that movie – not Dennis Quaid….
Maren Hogan is a millennial living the dream in Omaha, Nebraska. When she’s not plotting the downfall of Gen Xer’s like me, she’s doing marketing and development for an IT recruiting and outsourcing firm called HCI. When she’s not at HCI, she’s blogging at Big O Recruiting and becoming addicted to Twitter…