The rise of the young boss and its generational counterparts
Monday, August 14, 2017
A lot of talk is centered on the challenges that arise when managing millennials. They are easily distracted, jump jobs frequently, and really don’t like losing.
But what about the millennials who are doing the managing? Now that 75.4 million millennials have entered the U.S. workforce, the probability of that scenario is becoming more likely.
Probably the biggest misconception employers have in regard to this generation is assuming that the group feels entitled to these positions, rather than realizing they are just searching for empowerment, according to a Gallup study regarding millennials and their career development.
This study highlighted what exactly this group was looking for from a potential employer — and it didn’t have anything to do with free food and a ping-pong table. Millennials just want room to grow.
Currently, four different generations now reside in the same workforce. With tech-driven opportunities on the rise, millennials are finding themselves in positions where their skills are ahead of their older counterparts. What makes this situation unique is that the generational differences couldn’t be more distinct.
Millennials want to be free of traditional workplace policies with flexible hours and crave constant feedback. Boomers and Generation Xers didn’t grow up with continual cheerleading and lived through recessions and/or wars. They seek a more hands-off approach from their managers and don’t need to have a personal relationship with them.
What happens when the tables turn and the millennials are running the show?
The truth is that this scenario is already happening. The millennial manager is on the rise, and experts are saying the younger boss/older employee is the new dynamic.
Seniors are now staying in the workforce and millennials are infiltrating. In 2017, nearly 20 percent of people age 65+ are still working full or part-time — the highest rate since 1962. The end of the Great Recession forced many Americans to stay in the workforce longer to make ends meet.
In an interview with Fast Company, Chip Espinoza, who has studied millennials in the workplace and is author of "Millennials Who Manage," says millennials will actually bring a lot of good change to the workplace as supervisors by creating an environment that places its people first.
Baby boomers were the ones credited with creating employee support programs and Generation Xers are those who gave us business-casual. Millennials will take those concepts to the next level, Espinoza believes.
While work-life balance has always been imperative, millennials will seek a work-life blend, he says.
"They don’t mind accessing their work life during their personal life, but they also want to access their personal life during work," says Espinoza.
He also believes millennials will change the face of annual reviews and create their own performance metrics. In the millennial office, the workplace will no longer be a divide of personal and professional lives with its co-workers — but rather one that puts the personal relationship first. Millennials are relational people and are very self-aware.
The things employers once feared in regard to millennials are what businesses have been missing. This generation is willing to try new things, advocate for their employees and offer challenges to old processes. As they rise, it would not be surprising if a company’s morale and efficiency rose right along with it.
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