10 Tips for Millennials Managing Baby Boomers

Do you know that awkward moment when you're telling someone how to improve in a job they’ve held longer than you’ve been in the workforce? I love this line from this Forbes article because I was once there, and I remember thinking I had to prove myself to older employees. Rather than being an awkward experience, managing people older than you can be rewarding and educational. While much is written about the differences in our generations, we have more in common than is reported. We definitely can learn from each other and build strong teams as outlined in this Fast Company article. Here are my takeaways from these two articles, with a few other recommendations thrown in:

  1. Arrive to work early. Show your team your hard work ethic.

  2. Check your assumptions at the door. Boomers are more tech-savvy than you think.

  3. Set expectations. Work with your team to define result-oriented goals.

  4. Deliver more than you promise. Pitch in to get the work done to support the team.

  5. Be consistent and authentic. Don’t act differently with younger employees than you do older ones.

  6. Communicate strategy. It’s important to inform employees of changes, direction, and especially the why behind the changes.

  7. Learn from older employees. Just because you have the title, doesn’t mean you know everything. Ask their opinions and welcome their wisdom.

  8. Provide honest feedback. Discuss behavior and facts, and leave personalities aside.

  9. Understand your company’s values and integrate them into everything you do. Articulate them in meetings, emails, one-on-ones, etc.

  10. Get training. Too many companies take their best people like you, and put them into leadership positions without the training and support you need and deserve.

Remember that managing effectively takes practice. It doesn’t happen after one article, one podcast, one training session and definitely not in one day. You will make mistakes. Learn from them and over time you’ll feel more confident and competent in your leadership ability.

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Margie Adams

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