Becoming a Manager (when you’re a Millennial), Getting Managed

The below reflections are based on a blog post I wrote earlier called “In My Bosses Shoes” where I wrote about having learned the different facets of having to “manage up.”

In order to learn how to lead the other generations well, you have to first understand how you want to be managed by your team. How do you best receive information, especially when it’s bad news? 

Are you the type of person who really only needs to know the 30,000-foot view of an issue? Or do you want to know all of the steps your employee took to get to a resolution? Or, if not the process, maybe just the facts? Or not really the facts, but the political implications? Or is it different for different scenarios and people?

While not all of your employees have had any kind of “managing up” training (but they should), you should understand how best you need to have information downloaded to you so that you can help your employees with any next step they’re trying to take. Because you’re the manager now, you have less control and may have less technical knowledge than some of your employees, so you have to mitigate your fears of the unknown by knowing how to best get the right information from your employees in order to make the best decisions.

There is something else with the concept of “managing up,” though, that I think Millennial Managers should mitigate the need for.  In trainings I’ve been a part of, I’ve learned that when I’m given a project from my manager, I have to have a list of questions pre-identified so that I can make sure I’m getting all of the necessary info to complete the project. In this idea, there’s an assumption that bosses are too busy, brief, and basic to think ahead of what they might need to give a person for a project.

I say, as Millennial Managers, we should evolve the idea of “managing up” to only be necessary if your employees need something or there’s an issue they’re bringing to you. It shouldn’t be when you’re asking someone to do a project. Make sure they have all of the info they need NOW, such as resources available, expectations for outcome and delivery deadlines, and if there are any landmines they need to be aware of. 

The fact that it even has to be part of the training in “managing up” courses shows that it is a solid trend among the managers from the other generations. Be a better manager and give employees complete information and expectations for a project. This will help all generations perform their jobs better.

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