You're excited! You've just landed a new job at a startup, and it's exactly what you've been looking for. But before you've had a chance to settle in, surprise, you discover that your new boss is a millennial. Try not to panic! This shouldn't come as a complete shock considering millennials are the largest generation we've ever seen.
We've all heard the horror stories about them, they're self-absorbed and entitled, right? So how on earth are they expected to run a company? Fortunately for you, they're not that bad. Even though they're taking workplace dynamics and turning tradition on its head, you'll survive. Here's how.
Keep a cool head
Millennials' imaginations can get the better of them. It's not all their fault though, they're driven by what they see on social media. For example, all millennials have short attention spans. One week they hate Kanye West, the next they can't stop talking about how amazing Yeezus is. This also affects how they approach work. From a new project management methodology to a new system of standups to a complete about face, no week of work with a millennial boss is likely to be the same as the week that came before.
Continuously pumping out fresh, new ideas is a great millennial trait, but their ADD often keeps these millennials from fully thinking new things through or explaining to their team why they're important.
Instead of getting frustrated, your job is to keep a cool head because it'll help rein in your boss. You're going to have to be goal-oriented to accomplish this. The long-term benefit is everyone involved is on the same page and you'll be the calm voice of reason in the chaos. Whenever they come up with a new idea, be the one to assign timelines to the goals and put them in a calendar. Check in with your boss once a month to review them and to keep your boss on track.
You'll find that even when ideas are sporadic and lack focus, your cool rationality will help temper the situation. Your boss will recognize the effort and appreciate the structure. You can then help your boss achieve these goals in the long-term. They know that they have shortcomings and want employees who will compensate for that.
Become a champion for new technology
Millennials are like kids in a toy store, they're obsessed with all things new and shiny. If the "toy" is the latest and greatest app ever, they're all over it.
More than any other generation, millennials are the first to adopt new technologies. Be it social media, online or mobile tools, etc, their willingness to try new things means that they're always connected. Mobile analytics company Amplitude says that over 80% of Internet users can access a smartphone.
Because they're so in tune with technology, they expect efficiency at work. They won't hesitate to throw out everything and start fresh with something new. However, just because they enjoy using new technology to run their business, doesn't mean they're tied to it. They're only loyal to the next best tool--and that means your toolbox can change on a dime.
The answer is, you need to be proactive in order to keep up with these changes. For example:
Embrace team collaboration
Millennials love to collaborate on absolutely everything (from what to have for lunch to what new phone to buy), but who are we kidding? Let's call it what it is, they can't resist micromanaging. No matter how annoying it is, they don't care, they want to get in there and give as much input as possible.
As leaders of companies, they need to be aware of what's going on to ensure strategies and plans are working as they should. However, you might find this level of involvement irritating. After all, you know you can run a project on your own.
The last thing your boss wants is for you to feel inept in doing your job. So the best way to deal with an overly collaborative boss is to understand that the problem isn't you. You both want the same thing in the end, a successful project.
Get organized and discuss project objectives early on so that you understand what your boss wants to accomplish. With this knowledge you can be proactive and stay ahead of them. For example, if you find your boss frequently asks about data:
Show them that you've got things covered and that you value their input so that they understand that while they need to check-in occasionally, they don't need to be overbearing.
Take a deep breath, you'll survive
As hard as it may seem at first, millennials and non-millennials can learn a lot from each other. You're going to have to accept that the workplace is changing rapidly. Case in point, by 2025 millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Mind blowing, right?
By understanding the mindset of millennials, the transition will be less painful than it needs to be. Take a deep breath and consistently try to find a middle ground that allows you to develop and relate to your boss. It'll pay off in the long run because you'll keep your sanity.