Millennials as bosses

The millennials (born 1983-1997) are increasingly taking the lead. A new study by Korn Ferry shows that they communicate with their direct reports differently than the generations before them.

Millennials as bosses

In February 2018, 1500 workers were approached as part of a survey. 55% of them said that their superiors (millennials) most often communicate with them using online messaging, and as a further communication tool, millennials use e-mail (28%). Only 14% of employees reported that their bosses met with them face to face, and they used the phone in only 3% of cases.

The study also showed that when millennials apply for leadership roles, they rank company culture much more highly than salary.

The way management communicates with employees has a great impact on the entire company culture. Millennials are used to communicating primarily on their phone display or computer monitor. On-line messaging and emails are effective forms of communication, yet face-to-face conversation is important for creating an inclusive culture.

When questioning what millennial bosses could do better, most respondents (29%) opted for more frequent personal communication, followed by (27%) keeping their own bosses better informed.

Strengths and weaknesses

The survey also looked at the strongest and weakest aspects of millennial leaders in terms of staff. Only 10% of respondents think that the millennials manage to inform their bosses sufficiently, and only 3% of respondents believe that millennials can maintain good relations with their superiors. 65% of employees appreciate the fact that millennials are developing and promoting flexibility at the workplace.

However,  millennial management approaches may not always be seen in a positive light by other generations. 70% of respondents think that the bosses of older generations (such as Generation X or Baby Boomers) think they are working harder than their millennial counterparts.

On the other hand, the survey did find that managers believe millennial bosses are qualified. Up to 75% of respondents believe that the high-level millennials have earned their positions deservedly.

Members of the millennial generation are effective in their new jobs. They don’t approach it in the same way as bosses from other generations, but if companies adapt to the dynamic culture that the millennials bring with them, they will certainly help them achieve the desired success. Fighting these changes could, on the contrary, produce unpleasant consequences.

The survey found that, compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers, it is vital for millennials to know what will come next. Almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents conclude that it is essential for millennials to know the exact path leading to career progression (eg next two positions).

Millennials appreciate direct and clear communication and feedback. Organisations who want to get the best of this generation have to work closely with millennial managers to outline clear career paths.

Míša Benešovská

I’m a freelance journalist and copywriter, mainly covering IT industry. I’ve been fascinated by it for nearly a quarter of a century (or since I dismantled my first computer). I worked for, Unicorn Systems or Mafra publisher. In my spare time, I love game consoles and keep perfecting a recipe for the best pumpkin risotto in the world.

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