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How to manage the 'most misunderstood’ but ‘well meaning’ generation

How to manage the 'most misunderstood’ but ‘well meaning’ generation

Harnessing the connections and engagement levels of millennials is the single biggest people management and customer opportunity today, writes Bruce Cotterill

Attendees at Xerocon 2018

Attendees at Xerocon 2018

10 messages from millennials to their managers

1. What is the organisation trying to achieve?

2. Tell me who our key people are and how I can interact with them.

3. How does my role fit into the overall plan — how do I contribute to the achievement of the company objectives?

4. Make my role meaningful and relevant.

5. Please give me current, regular, constructive feedback and help me to grow.

6. How do I know if I am being successful?

7. Talk to me and listen to my opinions and ideas, and don’t criticise me for asking dumb questions.

8. Help me to understand why we are doing the things that we do.

9. Give me the tools I need to do the job.

10. Tell me where we are heading and help me to understand what the future looks like for our business and my role in that.

ShadowTech Day at Transpower
ShadowTech Day at Transpower

10 messages from managers to millennials

1. Listen to experienced people. They are not old, or out of date. They are experienced and you can learn from them.

2. Understand the differences between the way you were brought up and the real world; you won’t always win and you are not always right.

3. You have to prove yourself before you will get promoted.

4. Sometimes you will have to do stuff you don’t want to do, but you will learn a lot from those experiences.

5. Keep asking good questions. You will learn much as a result. If that frustrates your boss, you are at the wrong place.

6. Work really hard to have meaningful conversations with other people — face to face. Yes, even people you don’t know well.

7. The ability to build and maintain strong relationships with your team and your customers will always be important — and you don’t build relationships via social media. Be face to face as often as possible.

8. If you are not getting recognised or making an impact within six months, that’s okay. Learn the business, develop your skills, try different things and grow your role gradually as your skills develop.

9. Make the most of every opportunity, especially if you are given the opportunity to lead — take it.

10. Put your phone away. Look for opportunities to talk to people rather than stare at your phone — in the coffee shop or in the meeting room. Offer to help others instead of checking your Instagram feed. This will not come naturally to you. But it will help you to develop a broader range of people skills and you will build better relationships.

Bruce Cotterill has been at the helm of organisations of all sizes, from three people to 3500, with revenues ranging from zero to $800 million. As CEO, he has led turnarounds at real estate group Colliers, Kerry Packer’s ACP Magazines, and iconic Kiwi sportswear company Canterbury International.  He is a highly regarded business communicator assisting managers, leaders and their organisations to improve their performance and profitability. This is an excerpt from his book The Best Leaders Don’t Shout, where he shares the lessons learned as he and his teams have defended businesses against the threats of the poor performance he inherited, and then, turned those same businesses around into highly profitable organisations with engaged teams and ecstatic customers.


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