Millennials now make up the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, which means a good many of these younger workers are managers in positions of authority over people older than themselves. Yet directing, evaluating and providing feedback to elders can be uncomfortable, although it doesn't have to be, at least if you handle yourself properly. That's according to Andrew Filev, CEO of online project management software company Wrike, who has been managing older workers ever since he was 22 and starting a software consultancy right out of college. Eleven years later, here's what he says he's learned since then and now that his workforce tops 350 employees who represent all ages of the employment spectrum.
1. It can't be "my way or the highway."
Just because someone is a team. Instead, solicit ideas and feedback and then listen. Sage leaders learn as much as they can from everyone around them so as to make the best decisions possible. "Diverse and rich experiences bring new perspectives and solutions," he says.boss doesn't make him or her the smartest person in the room. Act like it and you can be sure to alienate everyone on your
2. Good Millennial managers own their mistakes.
Everyone--interns and C-Level executives alike--makes mistakes. When it happens, take responsibility because making excuses or passing the buck demonstrates insecurity and immaturity. Instead, turn a mistake into a teachable moment and ask for feedback on how you can do better next time. "Perfection is impossible, but looking at the mistake analytically, and having a commitment to improvement is going to impress your more experienced employees," he says.
3. Smart leaders identify non-collaborators during the interview process.
"Culture fit" is a buzz term often thrown about in the startup world, but essentially it involves how an organization collaborates and communicates. And while Millennials particularly appreciate collaborative cultures, other generations aren't excluded from sharing the same values. The best time to test whether or not someone will fit well within your organization is before they're hired, during the interview process. It's the ideal time to ask about a problem a candidate faced, and challenge the solution presented to see how he or she responds, whether with appreciation or defensiveness. "You can tell a lot from the tonality of conversation if this person likes to generate solutions collaboratively, or if their decisions are fueled by ego," he says.
4. It's important to respect older workers' experience.
Is there something you can learn from the culture of the last company which employed one of your team members? While it's easy to dismiss different ways of doing things as irrelevant to your own company, it may be more helpful to find out why another organization does things the way they do.
"Curiosity drives insights," he says. "Insights drive high-performing teams forward."