It can be intimidating for a young professional to enter into a leadership role that might require managing employees as old as his/her parents! How does a young millennial pup ease into a managerial position and gain the respect of the team? These five tips will help you gain confidence and be an effective leader:
- Get comfortable with face-to-face interaction and difficult conversations: Millennials tend to inadvertently shy away from providing constructive criticism or addressing conflict, either by avoiding it altogether or communicating by text or email when an in-person conversation would be more appropriate. Although you might have ended your relationship in high school via a text message, try to handle difficult career- and work-related conversations in person. In addition to helping you gain the respect of those you manage, in-person conversations will ensure that information is heard and understood as you intended.
- It’s okay to be human: Sometimes the need to appear competent can make it less appealing to take accountability when things don’t go as planned. Set an example for your staff and own your mistakes. You can even take it one step further by using your mistake as a “teachable moment” and a chance to solicit feedback from your team. Nobody is perfect and showing some vulnerability will make you more approachable and relatable to your staff. In addition to leading by example, you’ll be more highly regarded when you acknowledge where you went wrong as opposed to pretending the mistake didn’t happen or sweeping the blame onto someone else.
- Be a team player: Collaboration is a sign of a confident leader. Giving your team members a voice goes a long way toward building morale and enhancing employee satisfaction. In fact, allowing others to have some influence around decision making increases employee engagement and accountability in terms of task completion. Although a collaborative decision may not get made quite as quickly as if you were to make the call on your own, usually, some helpful perspectives emerge and the decision is a stronger one when others are involved.
- Manage your stress levels: Be realistic about your time to prevent getting overwhelmed and emotionally reactive with your staff members. The millennial generation tends to want to “do it all,” even if they develop an anxiety disorder trying! Ask for help when you need it and schedule time away from work when you can unplug for a while.
- Be friendly, but not too friendly: Management can be a lonely road at the best of times. It can be tempting to befriend your staff, especially if you are close in age and share things in common. However, it is important to keep a boundary that sets you apart as an authority figure. When this line gets blurred it makes it difficult to appear unbiased when making tough decisions or when having to deliver critical feedback to a buddy. Remember, work is not about making friends or being liked—it’s about being an effective leader.
If you’d like help applying any of this advice to your career, feel free to give Canada Career Counselling a call. For more information on millennials in the workplace, listen to our very own Meghan Reid discuss the topic her radio show Career Cravings here.
Post written by Bryanne Manveiler