Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Millennials Don't Need Blind Deaf and Dumb Managers

Having a "voice" in the workplace has always been important but it seems to be more important than ever since millennials have arrived on the scene.  Among other things, they have been described as the job-hopping generation which, in essence means, if they're not happy with the way things are going they have no problem walking away.  (I imagine they will re-think that as we move through the next couple of years).

Since returning to the workforce and finding myself surrounded by millennials, I am discovering just how bright, talented and innovative some of them are.  But I am also seeing managers who fail to recognize what they bring to the table.  This is especially true of some baby boomer managers who want to prove how much they are in charge and make their subordinates feel totally inferior. But sooner or later these baby boomer managers will be replaced so it would be in their best interest to work to help develop the young minds and build on their initial employment enthusiasm.

This is what Millennials don't need from baby boomer managers:

Don't be BLIND:  Managers should not ignore their gifts and talents.  Don't act as if you don't see the work they're doing and for pete's sake, acknowledge their very presence.  Managers should know every employee by their first names and speak to them daily.  When employees feel a connection to management, statistics say they will perform better and that helps increase the Company's bottom line. They are also more likely to stay with the Company to consider it as a career move.

Don't Be DEAF:  Millennials may not articulate their thoughts and ideas in the same way baby boomers do but they should at least be given the opportunity to do so. Their innovative ideas could sprout forth a new product or help save the Company money.  If you refuse to listen to them, you will also miss the opportunity to make yourself look good for hiring such a smart young person.

Don't Be DUMB:  According to a CareerBuilder Poll, 58 percent of managers received NO training before starting the job and if you couple that with a lack of people skills, the workplace is set up for disaster.  You have to show you care about your employees---that doesn't mean "baby" them but you shouldn't be oblivious to them.  One of the worst mistakes some managers make is allowing their egos to get the best of them. Author, Darryl Rosen says, "Help others feel understood by turning down the volume of your ego and turning up the volume of your listening."  

As contributor Travis Bradberry says, "If managers want their best people (millennials) to stay they need to think carefully about how they treat them."

And there's absolutely nothing dumb about that.

What Millennials Can Learn from Baby Boomers in the Workplace

Despite popular belief, baby boomers and millennials can work together and they can teach each other a thing or two in the process.

When I returned to the workforce after a seven year hiatus I must admit I went into culture shock over the the fact that there were so many young faces with new attitudes, a different outlook on work ethic and a totally different dress code.  

Being the teacher and coach that I am, I have seized every opportunity to offer wisdom and guidance to those millennials who have been open to receive it---while keeping in mind that how you deliver a message is just as important, if not more important, as what you actually say.  

So what can millennials learn from boomers on the job?

1)  How to Navigate Workplace Politics: I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely despise the politics that goes on at the office.  I have never had the kiss ass mentality but I do know you are looked at in a more favorable light if you find more things to agree with your manager on than to constantly be the antagonist.  I believe many millennials would like to see hierarchy dismantled but the reality is it still exists and always will to some extent.

There is a protocol to follow.  You can't just go into the CEO's office for a chit chat or pull up a chair to discuss an idea you know will help the Company's bottom line.  There is a chain of command for that.  The problem arises if your manager doesn't like you or feels threatened by you.  That will hold you back. However, learning how to win over your manager will open a few more doors.  We can show you how to do that.

2)  Developing Your Soft Skills:  What we, as boomers, may lack in technology skills, we certainly make up for in people/soft skills.  We do know how to communicate effectively face-to-face and that skill has led to promotions or better paying jobs for us.  We have also learned how to develop transferable long-term career goals, such as problem-solving, communication, negotiation and leadership.

We can certainly create value in a young co-worker’s career life by helping them develop in those areas.  Of course, they will be more receptive to your assistance by the way you approach them.  Dictating or mandating anything will get you ignored.

3)  You are not entitled to anything: Unless your daddy is the CEO of the Company, you are not just going to get hired and become a manager or executive.  Once again, there is a hierarchy and promotions process.  Some baby boomers can tell you they waited for years to move up the ladder and, for some, it was no easy climb.

According to the article, 8 Career Practices Millennials Can Learn from Baby Boomers:  "The biggest complaint about millennial careerists? A sense of entitlement. No matter your age, let us be clear — no one owes you anything. You do not deserve accolades and merit badges for following the rules. Life is not Scout Camp. Adjust accordingly."

In order for baby boomers to demonstrate leadership we must be determined to make millennials better as a result of our presence and make sure our impact lasts in our absence.

You can read more in my new book:  The Baby Boomer/Millennial Divide:  Making it Work at Work available on Amazon.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Kellyanne Conway is a Disgrace to Baby Boomer Women

By now most of us have seen the picture of Kellyanne Conway making herself at home in the White House with a room full of educated black men and women who happen to be the Presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country.

Yes, I was outraged but I also felt a sense of sadness for this 50-year-old woman who thought, in her mind, that it was okay to behave in that manner.  After all, she's supposed to be a lawyer who should have a strong sense of professionalism about her.  I was disappointed that she couldn't see how her actions would be perceived---even if she didn't personally care.  There are a lot of people I come in contact with and although I may not like them, I do know my behavior will reflect a lot about who I am or who they perceive me to be.  So with that being said, perhaps #45 isn't the only one who needs some mental health counseling.

I wanted to share what one Washington Post reader had to say when he saw the picture:

"Is this how professional women you know sit, kneeling on the couch with their legs open?  
You visit your lawyer and she sits like this? Her assistant sits like this? Kneeling, knees apart?  
You visit your doctor and the nurse sits like this? Skirt above her knees, kneeling , legs apart? The doctor sits like this?  
You go into you bosses office and she's sitting like this, kneeling in her chair, knees open?  
You go to see your kid's teacher or principal and she kneels in her chair with her skirt above her knees, knees apart?  
If so, congratulations : please feel free to notice nothing undignified here. It's all okay -- so do not speak badly of any woman who acts like a slob this way. Not any fat woman, not any black woman, not any woman. 
If this okay for so-called and Conway -- it is perfectly fine for any woman. No snickering, please. 
Just like it is fine for any famous female to grab the crotch of any man she feels like."

My mama used to say you can take a person out of the trailer park  but you can't always take the trailer park out of a person---even with a law degree.