Letter to a Millennial
I know you think you are part of the “most hated generation.” I know you’re tired of your baby boomer bosses who have a negative view of you and the way you like to do your work. I get it! I’m a Millennial, too.
Since we are often supervised by baby boomers, the opportunities available to us often depend on working well with our baby boomer bosses. It’s in the interest of both of us to understand what they need from us and what we need from them—specifically, how to work with each other. Here are some tips from my professional experience in working with employee development leaders:
- Be willing to stay with your employer if the work is interesting and the rewards are clear. Some aspects of your job may bore you, but your boss views them as crucial. Completing these kinds of tasks in the way they want, will make them happy and get the job done. But, that isn’t what makes our generation so different. Our boss should respect that we bring creativity to the workplace. Sometimes the work is interesting, but the rewards are not clear. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are curious about rewards for meeting goals.
- Communicate clearly the need for reinforcement and balanced feedback. How do we know if we are improving or meeting standards if our boss doesn’t reinforce and provide balanced feedback? We have to communicate that we need reinforcement. We want to know if we are doing the job right, and if not, how to improve.
- Manage your boss’s expectations. Don’t be silent if you feel unsure about your priorities. Manage your boss’s expectations about what you’ll get done and when. Ask, “What do you need from me today?” By asking, you both will have a clear picture of what you are focused on. One of the best ways to create clear communication around expectations is by using an Action Plan. It is a simple plan managed by both boss and employee, focusing on SMART action steps for task or assignment.
Using these tips should help you work more effectively and efficiently with your baby boomer boss. If it doesn’t work out, it is ok to start looking for a job that fits you. Don’t give up on your personal and professional success. You bring value and creativity to the workplace.
A millennial, Sarah Oeltjenbruns
Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com