Any student of human behavior knows younger workers see the world differently compared with their older peers. In fact, anyone over 40 working for a Millennial manager would be wise to be intentional about how to interact with this individual. That's according to lan Siegel, cofounder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, the fastest growing company in the HR space with tens of thousands of subscribers and revenue north of $100 million. Now 40-something but having experience directly out of college managing a team of engineers decades older than himself, he has traversed generation gaps on both sides of the chasm. Here's what he says older workers should do to optimize a relationship with a younger manager.
1. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
A young manager often has a lot of anxiety about how to do his or her job. Help this person by keeping the team's cogs turning in the right direction without the manager having to do anything. Be proactive and do what you think is right.
2. Use a narrative-based approach to updates.
While over-communication is smart when it comes to working for a younger manager, take heed to provide the right kind. It seems counter intuitive, but providing a list of what you've accomplished throughout the week is not helpful. Why? The manager still needs to contextualize the data you've given and make decisions about whether or not the things you've been working on are appropriate. Instead, tell a story which the manager can share with anyone who asks, including superiors or peers at management meetings.
"You can say 'We started from here and our idea was to get better by doing X so we implemented X. These are the results of X, and based on that success or that failure we are changing our strategy now to do Y,'" he says. By giving such narrative you're not only assuring a young manager that the team is working on the right things, he or she has confidence in having something to repeat.
3. Provide a younger manager with positive feedback.
Anyone under the age of 35 likely grew up with helicopter parents who were generous with positive feedback. They also have been using manysocial networks for years and are accustomed to making a wealth of information public and addictively gauging how many likes or hearts they receive online. In short, they love positive feedback. "The next generation wants feedback every week so there is nothing wrong with telling your manager 'You killed it in that meeting. You really helped me this week,'" he says. "That is a great strategy for working with your Millennial manager."