Managing the Millennials – Revised in my new format

The Study

  • The authors conducted a two-year study to obtain the material for this book. They interviewed hundreds of managers and employees in a variety of work environments. They use their data to develop models of each generation, the behavior of Millennial employees that managers find problematic, and the behaviors exhibited by the holders of those values. They looked for points of tension that result from clashing value systems in a cross-generational management context. After describing the conflict, they provide tools for resolving the tension that inhibits the success of both managers and Millennials.

How to be good at managing Millennials

  • The study showed that most managers who were good at managing Millennial employees had served as a volunteer in a youth organization. In order to be effective with youth, you need to 1) initiate relationships, and 2) be patient to set expectations according to where the young person is, not where you want them to be. These skills are easy to transfer to the work place. These effective managers are able to suspend the bias of their own experience. They start with the Millennials experience, not their own. The underlying premise of this book is that people with the most responsibility have to adapt first. By setting an example, managers will create an environment in which the less mature will adapt.

The Mindset

  • Adaptability: Talk about your need to change.
  • Self-Efficacy: Believe you can do something about a situation.
  • Confidence: Allow subordinates to challenge your ways.
  • Power: Use the power of relationship versus your power of position.
  • Energy: Feel energized when you work with younger people.
  • Success: See yourself as the key to their success.
  • It’s a well-established fact that employees more often leave managers and not organizations.


  • By giving Millennial employees autonomy on the job, you communicate that you trust them. They detest being micromanaged. While other generations dismiss a micromanager as anal or controlling, they take micromanaging personally as it connotes a lack of trust or confidence. Also, by being flexible when it makes sense, you reduce insecurity and build trust. Think of flexing as the ongoing conversation about “How can we do our best work together?” Millennials want to have a voice and don’t mind being challenged. They want to find meaning in their work, gain experience, yet desire a work-life balance.

Incenting the Entitled

  • Millennials value what they value – not what you value! Before you reward them, be sure to ask them what they want. You need to make sure that your expected outcomes are clearly communicated. Don’t hesitate to use their preferred method of communication. You need to offer praise in a variety of forms, but avoid cookie cutter employee-of-the-month programs. Pull them into the design of incentive programs. People tend to support what they help create. (Dr. Doug: I think this applies to all generations.)
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