3D – Managing The Millennials – Discover the Core Competencies Managing Today’s Workforce (Part 1)

Management is one of my favorite’s discipline. The reason is simple, management primary goal is to make things happen. In some way, management is both art and science. By saying art i mean that management needs resources and we all know resources are all the time, limited. Therefore with management knowledge, one needs to artfully manage these limited resources to achieve business goals. And by saying science i mean, there is a methodical approach to management. when applied, you will get the results or at least not to far away from the intended goals. There is a saying if you are a manager, “your technical skills bring you into the management, but only management skills can take you further.” Make sense right? Think hard.


Lately, managing workforce has become more challenging than it used to be. We have varieties of workforce that is mobilized towards the same goals of the organization. No wonder sometimes chaos is the word used to describe the state of organization today. In my research, i found out the new workforce is going to give and demand lot more from organizations, they are “The Millennials”. You can Google up to know what is The Millennials. I grab a book recently, “Managing The Millennials – Discover Core Competencies Managing Today’s Workforce”. Fairly simple book and page-turner. Based on research done in the US with substantial sampling size. Interestingly this book authored by both the Millennials and “older generations”. Thus the content is solid and updated. They are Chip Espinoza, Mick Ukleja and Craig Rusch.


In this slot 3D (Deadly, Doable, Duplicable), i intend to share with you the learnings so you can have a quick information on how to act on it. Well, you can also pick up the book for full understanding because what i have down here are just 30 nuggets of what i thought would be useful for managers and top management like you. Have fun reading!


Managing the Millennials

Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce

Chip Espinoza, Mick Ukleja, Craig Rusch


1. The growing frustration among managers and business leaders with integrating younger workers into their organization is already a common issue in many organizations; emerging economies and developed nation alike.


2. At the core of the Millennial phenomenon is that they do not have the same need or know-how to build relationships with their managers or authority figures. Previous generations had to take the initiative to relationally connect in order to gain information and access. Things are different now. The rules have changed. That leads us to believe that most Millennials just do not know how to relate to someone who is in authority that is not already perceived to be “for” them.


3. On the managers side, they do not recall the experience of their superiors reaching out to them. Because of that they certainly know how to reach upward and the authorities but do not feel the need to reach downward (the Millennials) or they just don’t know how. They are clueless on where to begin.


4. The older generation certainly can ignore the Millennials, but the question is for how long. There will come a time where the managers have to embrace the Millennials to make it work. There are approximately 83 million Millennials in the world and they are the largest cohort since Baby Boomers (80 million). It means the Millennials are shaping our world right now. Let say you run a corporation whether family business, entrepreneurial or government, who is going to take over for you when you ‘re gone? Do you think the next generation is ready to take over? Do you think your kids are ready to step into that role? Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. The Millennials are already here.


5. For the Millennials, technology isn’t a tool just to do more work or to achieve work life balance – it is an integral part of them and working with it is a second nature. The Millennials of this generation want and need constant feedback. Why? Because they were raised in democratic and praise-based families where the focus of parenting was nurturing. They have grown up working on teams in school and on academic projects. When they got into the workforce, they expect to work in teams. Diversity is important to them, and if there is none they feel there is something wrong. This group, more than ever, are interested in developing their spirituality. (Refer Dr Spock’s for nurturing parenting)


6. There are six major value-shaping influences every generation. There are family, education, morality, peers, spirituality and culture. While Baby Boomers live to work, the Millennials work to live. For Baby Boomers, authority and hierarchy are important but for Millennials not so much. They don’t care what your title is – they want to know whether you have the goods. When it comes to salary and wealth, Baby Boomers are convinced they need to work hard to earn it, but the Millennials expect it. Baby Boomers believe in position, performance and individual reward but Millennials, again, not so much.


7. The common feedbacks and quotes by people who manage the Millennials:

  1. They do not care about customers.
  2. Not taking responsibility for their actions.
  3. Projecting blame back to me.
  4. A flippant attitude.
  5. If you correct them, they quit.
  6. They think there is always an excuse that can make being late okay.
  7. They want trophy for just showing up.
  8. Lack of sensitivity for how difficult my job is.
  9. A lack of respect
  10. Yelling and screaming is the only thing they understand.
  11. They pick up computer and cash register skills quickly, but if it breaks they cannot count back change from a $10 bill.
  12. She asked for an extended lunch hour to go shopping with friends after her third day on the job.
  13. Quitting without the courtesy of a notice.
  14. They assume it is okay to call me by my first name like we are buddies. I am their boss.
  15. Anything extra nice I do, they act as if I owed it to them.


8. The common responds given by the Millennials:

  1. We are not defined by our job.
  2. We want to have a say about when we work.
  3. We do not expect you to be our best friend, but when you evaluate of critique us, we want you to do it in a friendly way (just like our parents did!)
  4. We want you to give us direction and then get out of your way.


9. The Millennials have high perception of themselves. They think they work faster and better than other workers. They have high expectations of their employers and they want direct and fair input from managers. They also want managers to be involved in their professional development, because it is all about them  – not just about the company. They seek out creative challenges and view peers as vast resources from whom to gain knowledge. They are a hungry bunch! They want small goals with tight deadlines so they can see their own development as they slowly take ownership of a new role. The Millennials are high performance and high potential and high maintenance. For managers, the maintenance clouds potential, instead of opportunity they see a headache.


10. More than 70% of older employees are dismissive of younger workers abilities. And more than 50% of younger employees are dismissive of the abilities of their older workers. The war for talent has shifted. You still want to recruit but the challenge is how to keep the best people? Retaining the best people is key to competitive advantage. So, what are you going to do to attract, keep and unleash their creativity and energy? You can either villainaize them and say, “The just aren’t they way it used to be.” Or you can tolerate them and say, “We have no choice and we have to let them work here.” Or you can engage them, and benefit from the contribution they will and can make.


11. Many of the Millennials who are promoted into management get the invite because they appear different from their peers – more mature. They take interest in their superiors and the business, and are able to reach up and make connection. Therefore they draw the attention ad favor of the older generations. We found that approximately one in the five Millennials take the initiative to connect with their peers.


12. Two critically important characteristics required to make working with Millennials better:

  1. The ability to initiate a relationship
  2. The patience to set expectations according to where the young person is, not where you want him or her to be.
  3. The ability to suspend the bias of own experience.
  4. The ability to adapt in the new environment – people with most responsibility have to adapt first and by setting an example the managers will create an environment where the less mature will adapt.


13. There six mindset or perspective that has to change or shift to be effective managers:

  1. Adaptability – ability to change and renew themselves in managing
  2. Self-Efficacy – internal locus of control and optimistic of the future.
  3. Confidence – ability to take challenges from the new environment i.e. allow being questioned, debate and embrace new ideas.
  4. Power – use empathy instead of power and authority to build trust. “If they know you care about them, the Millennials will go to hell and back for you.”
  5. Energy – embrace fun, enthusiasm, optimism, creativity, friendly and buddy-like.  
  6. Success – take up roles more like a mentor, coach, counsellor, advocate, sponsor and teacher.


14. New behaviours can be learned but are difficult to sustain without the support of right thinking. It is good to examine your own thinking with respect to managing across generations. Employees leave managers and bosses, not organizations. Why bother getting into argument with an authority figure who can only tell you how things used to be when he was young when one can only leave? It is no longer what you do to that sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do.


15. The nine orientations of the Millennials as experienced by managers:

  1. Autonomous
  2. Entitled
  3. Imaginative
  4. Self-absorbed
  5. Defensive
  6. Abrasive
  7. Myopic
  8. Unfocused
  9. Indifferent


Part 2, in the next post.

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