As Millennials continue to move up the ranks of the workforce, eventually they will step into the role of manager. A number of them are already doing so, and yet they don’t have the confidence of older generations that they’ll succeed because they lack the soft skills required for such a position.
The questions are, then, what are they lacking, and how do they overcome this?
Millennials are less prepared for management than prior generations, but not because they’re “entitled” or addicted to technology, explains Aaron Levy of Raise the Bar. Rather, the economy has shifted, and with that shift went the companies that survived. Huge corporations are now second-place to small or medium-sized employers, which simply don’t have the same resources that big companies do.
There are fewer employees, so extensive training at all career stages isn’t necessarily a priority or even realistic. As you might expect, companies today are focused on building their business, attracting customers and clients, and because of that, there isn’t always time to build leaders among themselves.
No one starts off ready for management. No one. It’s a learned ability, and, according to Levy, one of the best characteristics about the Millennial generation is their compassion. In general, Millennials consider community, purpose, and impact to be really important.
However, that can put them at a disadvantage, because part of being in a management position means needing to provide direct feedback. If the feedback is negative, the conversation becomes even more difficult. But, by overcoming that fear and understand that a) feedback is not inherently bad and b) how to give constructive feedback, the workplace will be better off.
What Training Looks Like
Throw away your tutorials. Or, at least, don’t depend on them. There isn’t one right way to do something, most of the time, so don’t insist on all employees holding one-on-one meetings with direct reports in an identical fashion. Instead, give them the right actions, and positively reinforce these actions until they are habitual.
Training should emphasize soft skills, transferable skills, that will never become outdated. Learning to listen, ask critical questions, and learning to have difficult conversations will never not be necessary in the workplace. Anything else will seem outdated and likely not translate well into other roles should the employee leave the company.
Continue to Forge Relationships
If you know of an employee with aspirations to rise up the ranks of management, guide them towards the best possible resources to achieve that goal. Encourage co-workers of different generations to find solutions together, and be patient with one another.
No one knows everything right away, if ever, but these tips should help companies bridge the gap between new and old, and gain a better understanding of their employees.