I am starting to understand what all the fuss is about millennials. The ones I have been meeting at the workplace are extraordinary people: energetic, educated, and always questioning the current state of things. Of course, those adjectives can describe any group of young people in any era. But with millennials, there are more of them, and they are more like those adjectives than any previous group of young people.
Millennials are increasingly entering managerial positions in the corporate world. Being a successful manager, though, is not easy. Colleges and even business schools are not good at creating good managers; it’s more of a learn-by-doing activity. That said, there are 3 key pieces of advice I give to millennial managers:
- Hiring is the most important thing you will do
- The annual performance review will have to be replaced by something
- Be patient
If you want to make your job as a manager easier, become great at hiring. Inevitably, there will come a time when you need to fill an opening on your team. The pressure to hire will be great. But do not succumb to the temptation of filling a position just to have someone there. It is far easier to deal with pressing problems at hand than to deal with someone who’s a bad fit.
That means being a little more brutal in the hiring process than may feel comfortable to you. Remember that saying a person is not right for a job is not the same as saying they are a bad person. Hiring someone into a job that is not right for them is not doing them any favors, and it will make your life miserable.
Also, hiring smart, diligent people will help you become a managerial genius. As Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” So one of the key questions you should ask yourself before making your next hire is: Can I learn something from this person?
Previous generations of managers dealt with the yearly review long after it had clearly become a bad idea. We all agree the annual performance review is dead. But this does not mean managers are off the hook for evaluating performance. The yearly review is being replaced by “coaching.”
When most people think of communicative managers, they imagine someone doling out wisdom and instruction. It’s important to be articulate, but the more important part of communication is active listening. Simply asking questions, letting people talk, and listening is an underappreciated skill set. In your day-to-day activities, if you are talking more than you are listening, you are doing it wrong.
Millennials have grown up in a Snapchat world, where real-life business is often conducted at U.S. Postal Service pace. Try to end every day by accomplishing something — moving the ball forward in some capacity. But realize, markets and big organizations move at their own speed. The millennial managers who are patient with the realities of organizational change will be the most successful in the long run.