"These damn millennials." 

Complaining about the youngsters is just silly, and it's getting old. Millennials are now in their 30s and Gen Z are the newest entrants of the workforce. You will keep getting older and there will continue to be 22-year-olds. It's that simple. I have said and written about this countless times: it's not the generation, it's the technology. 

The purpose of the column today is to create empathy for your new hires who are fresh out of college and joining your company. Think about the inbound communication they've been used to getting for the last 4-6 years of their life: 

  • Snapchat (it's not just pictures, they use it as a messaging platform) 

  • Instagram 

  • Personal email 

  • School email 

  • Text 

  • Traditional telephone calls 

Now some more have been added since they stared working for you: 

  • Work email 
  • Slack/Teams/Intra-office communication 
  • They may have two phones 
  • LinkedIn messages 

Time management is hard enough to accomplish projects. But how do you manage your time when you are getting "pinged" by up to 10 different forms of inbound communication throughout the day? 

Suddenly these graduates get a paying job with real deadlines that are ad hoc and client centric. They must get the work done or the company may lose money. It's a foreign concept to them, and at the same time, they have all this information coming at them. You can't back off now and assume they have it under control.  

"They are being paid now; they should know..." 

Ok, Boomer.  

Our jobs as leaders isn't to dictate, it's to teach. To be the teacher and educator. Tom DeLong of Harvard Business School has written books about it. As managers of people, our job is to teach. Telling someone what to do (or not to do) isn't really an effective technique to the masses.  

To just tell someone to stay off their phone isn't a solution. To teach them time management and talk about how to handle all incoming data, that's what makes a great manager a great leader.