How To Become A Rock Star Generation Y Manager

Managing Generation Y

As a generation y we have certain requirements from a manager. Throughout my working career I have had a number of managers who have all failed to deliver on what I look for in a manager. This is not to say any of these were bad people, quite the opposite actually for the most. Genuinely great people and a pleasure to be friends with. Some of the issues came down to their ability as a manager to match essentially what I looked for as ‘good’ management traits.

The days of management ran on fear are long gone, especially within the office environment. Directors should expect more from management and in turn so should the executives who typically sit under a manager.  A manager should not be someone you bitch about at a party, or moan about to your partner. Your manager should offer way more.

Now this is not generation y arrogance, this is the vision to see where management ultimately go wrong time and time again. It really doesn’t matter whether you are Gen Y or not, you should still have the same requirements from your manager. The below requirements for me are requirements at the very least which a manager should be able to fulfil:

Respect is a two way street but any successful manager will have the upmost respect for their staff. Having respect for your staff, the job they do and what they deliver is the bare minimum Id expect. One manager once said to me (He was a good one btw) ‘You’re only as good as the people you employ/manage’ and he was 100% right. Those underneath the manager are typically those who did the work which makes he/she look awesome. Having respect for those people is a must.

Generation Y expects trust from their management. As creative individuals working predominantly within web centric businesses, gen y’s commonly have more knowledge than their managers having been brought up in this environment. We dislike micro management. Give us a list of deliverables or let us run our own projects and assess us on how complete they are. Trust our judgement and our ability to work to business goals. The entrepreneurial streak in Gen y’s is the driving force behind this way of working. To keep Gen y’s happy let them be in control of their area of expertise and TRUST this expertise to deliver. I promise, we will.

Reassurance of a good job:
This doesn’t just apply for Gen y’s but from speaking to people within the generation y category I know this is always top of the agenda in regards to management expectations. With the current economic plight everyone wants to know they are doing a good job and everyone needs to have their ego massaged from time to time. Personally I like nothing better than been told that I am good at my job. It’s a motivator and it inspires me to work harder and achieve more. It’s very easy to say ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ yet the whole work culture is surrounded by those who demand work yesterday and without any warning or thanks.

There is nothing better than coming home from a hard weeks work knowing you are appreciated, valued and liked by your manager. In turn this reassurance and affirmation increases productivity which in commonly yields better results. Gen Y’s just like to know they are on the right track and are delighting their manager.

Work Flexibility:
Despite what you read work is important for generation y’s. We want to be rock stars, we want to achieve and we want to be massively successful. At the same time we want to have a nice work/life balance and flexibility sometimes with how we work.

Not everyone is cut out for the normal 9-5 hours. Quite frankly I’m much more productive in the morning (not your typical lazy gen y as it can be perceived by HR experts). I’d prefer to start work at 7-8am and finish earlier. Why? Because I’ll do a better job and it suits my lifestyle.

Managers who are willing to conform (within reason) to gen y’s requests of work flexibility will breed productivity in their team and be granted respect. Even if it’s as simple as letting someone leave a few hours early on a Friday to catch a train, or letting someone work over lunch so they can leave early. These type of decisions are what Gen y expect from work. Within reason let a Gen y decide when he/she can be most productive nor vice versa.

Clear sign of development:
I think I speak on behalf of the generation y culture when I say we certainly don’t lack ambition. I am an ambitious guy, I want to succeed, I want to be the best I can be. If I am part of an organisation where I cannot see a clear development path which matches my ambitions then I’ll look to move to an organisation which does. Again this is not arrogant. I’ve worked within organisations where you see people who have spent too long at the company and skills set become non transferable. You position within the organisation becomes so specialist that it’s hard to transfer elsewhere.

For some this may be great, but if the development path is not quite the path you want for your own career then you need to move on. Furthermore if the organisation is not advanced enough to match your aspirations then it also makes sense to move on. Been within an organisation and having your skills set stand still will have a negative effect on your future career. It clear path of development and deliverables needs to be set by your manager and stuck to. Without a clear goal of where the organisation wants you to grow, a gen y will become complacent and uninspired within their role.

Having a manager who cares about your development, cares about your career is important to any generation y worker.

I haven’t spent time studying generation y and I’m not qualified in the characteristics of Gen y. What I am though is someone who is from the gen y era and has worked within large corporate organisations. I have been managed by a mix bag of individuals. Some have been fantastic whereas others have fallen short on some of the areas I would expect to be fulfilled. As a manager if you make sure the above five points are covered you will have your work force on side. That is a very powerful tool within any organisation. We just want to be valued. By valuing our expertise you are significantly helping keep us happy, build the future of the business and most of all help yourself become a successful manager.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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