The generation of participation trophies, therefore, the generation of entitlement. Therefore, the group that thinks their degree, or maybe just the mere fact that they breathe, entitles them to the CEO seat 18 months in. You've heard it all. And if they don't get that CEO seat, by the way, well they are also a generation of job hoppers.
But when you talk to most millennials (myself included), you'll find that they don't want or expect to have the top job 18 months in, but they may want it at some point in their life. And isn't that a good thing? Goes against another stereotype of the generation- lazy.
They do, however, want you to help them know what it takes to get there. And before that, they want you to actually take an interest in what they want out of their career. They want you to be a career agent, a mentor, a people manager, which means giving them the assignments and experiences that will help them reach their dreams.
And guess what, this just isn't true of millennials; it's true of all generations. It just seems more pronounced with millennials because they have a longer career runway to plan for and manage.
Rajeev Behera, CEO of Reflektive, summarized this need for leaders to be career agents as a guest on HR Happy Hour 255- Modernizing Performance Management. One of the hosts, Trish McFarlane, asked Rajeev, "What does a good people manager look like?" Click through to about 11 minutes into the podcast if you want to hear what he had to say, but the gist of it is this:
"What I think is the difference between a team leader and a real people manager is the people manager actually knows what an employee wants to do in their career and coaches them to become, to get to that point in their career. So career development and helping out on skills and giving projects to them so they can improve on those skills to get them to where they want to be is what a great people manager does...The ones that you remember and that made a real imprint on you are the ones that spent the time with you."
Rajeev points to what makes a good manager. Really he is pointing to what distinguishes a manager from a leader. This obviously matters because it makes a "real imprint" on people.
But does is matter in terms of business results?
Take what Google found through their googlegeist survey given to employees (check out Work Rules for the details on this). The best managers did 5 to 18 percent better on a dozen of their employee survey "googlegeist" dimensions when compared to those that were the worst. The top things that made those managers significantly better dealt with career: "Career decisions were made fairly" and "Their personal career objectives could be met", and their manager was a "helpful advocate and counselor."
So if you feel threatened that a millennial or anyone else for that matter is gunning for your job without deserving it, be a good boss and coach them on how to get there. But first, ask them what it is they actually want out of their career. Besides the fact that this is just the right thing to do, it makes you more valuable too. Go make more leaders.
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