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Tips on Communicating Professionally for Millennials

Tips on Communicating Professionally for Millennials

Millennials, as you enter the workplace, you’re faced with the task of breaking the negative stereotypes that define your generation! One of the best ways to do this? Prove your workplace readiness by communicating professionally to your co-workers and superiors.

Here are five tips to guide you:

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Watch that tone!

Growing up as a Millennial, you’re used to using email and text to communicate. However, it’s easy for tones to be misinterpreted through email, so be aware of this when using this form of communication. Always use clear language that cannot be misconstrued, and unless you’re friendly with the person you are corresponding with, don’t try to insert sarcasm or humor into your words, which can easily be misunderstood.

Did you get a frustrating email from a client or your boss? Avoid the urge to angrily type up a response! Step away from the computer or work on another task for twenty minutes before you respond. The last thing you want is for your boss or client to pick up on your anger through email.

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Interrogate.

As a Millennial, you probably love to collaborate and communicate with others, so it can be hard for you to work with a boss who isn’t big on words. Use open-ended questions to pull more information out of your boss or co-worker.

Were you just assigned a task you’re not 100% clear on? Visit your boss and instead of saying you need more information, ask questions such as “what would you like to see happen with this project in the next month?” These questions force the other person to provide more information, but still allow you to remain polite and professional.

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Show confidence.

Be aware of both how you verbally and nonverbally communicate when it comes to confidence. Slouched shoulders will never read as confident, no matter what words are coming out of your mouth. Remember how your mother used to yell at you to sit up straight? Well, turns out she was right! Show confidence with a good posture, and avoid crossing your arms in a defensive manner. When it comes time to talk, speak at a volume where everyone in the room can hear you without straining to get closer. Avoid filler words that show your age such as “like” or “um…”. Use an active as opposed to a passive voice, and always make eye contact with those in the room.

Don’t do it half-way.

Millennials have a reputation of having short attention spans, so don’t prove this stereotype right in the workplace. When your boss sends you a lengthy email full of questions and tasks, be sure you include an answer to each question in your response. It may help if you read the email once for content, then go back and highlight each item that needs to be addressed. That way, as you craft a response, you’re able to quickly identify what needs your attention. Bosses do not want to have to go back and forth via email asking the same question over and over, so be sure to address everything on the first round.

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The end.

Always find a way to professionally end communication with superiors. When your boss sends you an email asking you to do something or help a co-worker, don’t just do it. Let your boss know it is done or when it will be completed. Most bosses want confirmation that you received the task and have accepted the timeframe given. Don’t leave it open-ended by not responding to give them this confirmation.

Want more advice on succeeding in the workplace? Discover your own strengths and weaknesses in this free assessment.

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Joel Goldstein

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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