There’s a popular expression “it’s not what you say, but how you say it”. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but in some cases, it really is about what you say. As a boss, you have a duty to communicate respectfully and professionally with all employees, including Millennials. But, do you know what things really tick Millennials off? Here are 5 things bosses should never say to Millennials:
1. “That’s not your job.”
Millennials tend to be less concerned with the boundaries created by their job description, and more concerned with on-the-job learning and professional development. Did a Millennial go out of his way to create a list of potential convenience store distributors even though he’s part of the customer service team?
If a Millennial goes outside of their job’s duties to seek a solution to a team problem or develop a new skill, don’t discipline him or her by saying it’s not part of the job. Let Millennials connect with co-workers on other teams or take the initiative to solve tasks on their own. This way, they will be able to learn new skills that they can bring back to strengthen your team!
2. “This is the way it’s always been done.”
Growing up around the fast-paced, changing world of technology and social media has given this generation the desire to find a new, better way of doing things. If you tell Millennials to accept the way things are now, even if they’re offering suggestions on a solution, don’t expect them to stay engaged (or employed) at the company for very long. Allow them the freedom to try to streamline processes and increase efficiency.
3. “That’s not a good idea.”
Millennials love working in an environment where they are encouraged to openly share ideas and brainstorm with the rest of the team. When a boss flat out shuts down a Millennial’s idea, it leads to frustration and discouragement. Bosses should let Millennials feel free to share ideas, and if there is a bad one in the bunch, gently say you think the team should move in another direction, or even push the Millennial to find the flaws in the idea on his or her own. If you think the idea will be too costly, ask “how will this impact the budget?” and let the Millennial realize it’s not a great plan without you actually rejecting it.
4. “I don’t have time for this”
As an upper level employee, Millennials will look to you for guidance, suggestions and help in the workplace. If you’re presented with a problem or question, never deny a Millennial the time. Rushing to a meeting or trying to meet a deadline? That’s ok, just ask the Millennial to set up some time on your calendar so you can devote your full attention to their issue. Remember, Millennials learn best by watching role models and mentors in action, so even though it may seem like a bother, take time now to help them, and it will pay off in the long run.
5. “I saw you came in at 8:05 today”
Two things that Millennials hate in a workplace? Micro-management and rigid scheduling. Unlike other generations, Millennials don’t feel the need to adhere to a strict 8-5 or 9-5 schedule, so don’t expect them to be punctual every morning unless you directly tell them to. Allow this generation to have flexibility in their schedule, and you’ll reap the rewards of an engaged and motivated Millennial worker.
Managing Millennials requires strong leadership. Do you have what it takes? Let us know if these tips help you with dealing with Millenials at the workplace and what other advice you have.