Management Success Tip #128: Answer the Millennial Challenge: Allow Innovation and Give Feedback!

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Millennials are a challenge for many managers – even if you’re just one generation ahead of them. Much more so, often, if you’re a Boomer. Then we’re talking employees who seem to have come from different planets, not just different cohorts.

Which means you’re often hesitant to allow your Millennials much leeway. You’re more comfortable keeping them on a relatively short leash, doing just what you’ve asked them too, hopefully without too much complaining.

Ryan Currie, guest-posting at ThinDifference.com suggests your reluctance  may prevent you from benefiting from this generation as much as you could: “You’ll be shocked just how innovative and outside the box they can get if you give them room to take risks – reward your millennials for being outlandish, for having ‘big’ ideas, and for taking chances and they’ll impress you.”

Currie follows this up by stressing how very important feedback is to Millennials: “They don’t want you to micromanage and they don’t want to speak to you only at their biannual evaluation. They want you to take them to lunch and openly and honestly talk to them about their mistakes, their upcoming challenges, and what they’re doing right. They’re difficult to insult, those millennials, and that’s a good thing.”

There’s the answer: give your Millennials leeway to be innovative, and then talk to them, openly and honestly, about how that leeway is panning out. Your Millennial employees will feel empowered, and you won’t feel like you’re risking your company.

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Management Success Tip #83: Give Your Micro-Managing Self A Break: Empower Your Employees!

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It’s tempting, when you’re faced with an under-performing employee, to jump in with both feet and micro-manage them – not only instructing them exactly how a job should be done, but involving yourself in the minutae of the how and when of every step along the way.

Necessary as you may feel this is, Amy Arnstein, professor of neuroscience at Yale University, tells us you’re actually decreasing your worker’s cognitive functioning  when you micro-manage, as it inevitably lowers workers’ ability to perform. The math is obvious: if your worker can’t think at their best, there’s no way he or she will perform at their best.

You see, from the time we are two years old, most of us want to “do it myself!” It gives us the sense of being in control, and people thrive when they feel some measure of control over whatever is going on in their lives.

Of course, you can’t tell an employee struggling with a performance issue “Just do whatever you want,” that’s a recipe for disaster. What you can do, is provide clear guidance, make sure the employee has understood what is expected and how to achieve the desired outcome, and then back off.

Give your worker permission to ask you questions any time, and honor that permission. Assign a co-worker as “buddy” if appropriate. Provide a checklist of the necessary or desired steps. Then leave them to it.

You’ve given your employee a sense of control over their work, which will almost always increase their level of confidence, and with it, their ability to perform at their best.

Management Success Tip #39: The Real Reason Why Employees Are Happy The Boss Is On Vacation

Know why your employees are so happy when the Boss is on vacation? You probably think it’s because they figure they can goof off and get away with not doing work. And that may very well be true for some of them.

But if you listen to what most employees say when the Boss is absent, what you’ll hear is “Finally! I can get some work done!”

Bosses and managers are under the misapprehension that an employee will only be truly productive if said boss or manager plays “helicopter-manager,” ready to pounce on every potential mistake or unoccupied moment. Unfortunately, that kind of over-the-shoulder or email-barrage micromanaging ensures that there will be more mistakes, and more moments of pure frustration for your employee when nothing useful gets done.

Instead of managing-by-hovering, try giving clear, detailed instructions up front, and then check in with your employee with questions such as: “Is there anything you need to get this project out?” “Is there anything holding up the works?” “Any resources you are lacking?” “Anything you need from me?”

Trust that if your employee needs something to get the work done, they’ll say so. And then, your response is simple: “What can I do to help?”

Research shows, over and over again, that what employees want—beyond reasonable pay—is the opportunity to succeed at meaningful work. Give them that opportunity, and watch their productivity and your profits, soar.