Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges
Question: I work for a large college in southern California in the Procurement Department. I love my job and am proud of the work we do. Most of our staff is in their 40’s and early 50’s. We just learned that we’re getting a new manager who is in her early 30’s. Can you give me some tips for what to expect from her as a boss?
Answer: You’re not alone. Last year, millennial employees, those born between 1980 and 2000, became the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Already, one-fourth of millennials are managers.
First, it’s important to remember that she was hired to be a manager for a reason, and that you both can learn from each other. Try not to assume that she fits the stereotype of a generation that grew up entitled and needing endless praise. There’s a good chance that she’s a hard worker who is just as nervous about managing people who are 10 and 20 years her senior.
New managers of any age often bring a fresh perspective to the team. They may see things that could streamline the workflow. Change, even change that brings positive results, can be stressful. Try not to associate the desire for change with the age of your manager. Be open to it and approach it with a positive attitude.
If you have advice or recommendations based on experience that you feel will help your manager, resist the temptation to use comments like “when I was your age . . .” Be thoughtful in your delivery and frame your comments around the business issue to be solved, not around her managerial style. And if she chooses not to follow your advice, let it go, just like you would with a manager of any age.
Look at your new manager as an individual who deserves your respect and support. Remember what it’s like to be the new person in any group. Welcome her aboard and find out what you can learn from each another.