People keep talking about the challenges of managing millennials. What is that about? I don’t get it. I guess it is an outcome of all the demographic over-thinking and categorization that has enthralled marketers for so long. I want to say that there is no-one who is a millennial. There are just people in the wide and wonderful range of humanity who maybe happen to fall into an age group some of whom grew up with Playstation.
But really – when you are managing a business – especially a creative business – surely you are not thinking about your employees in terms of some kind of demographic definition. Surely not. Are you considering all the women 18-25 as needing one form of managing? Are all millennial men the same as all millennial women? Men with college education another? Perhaps you should have different management teams for different demographics within your employee rolls. Ridiculous? Of course.
How to manage millennials
Managing people is about managing individuals – most very especially those working in creative fields. Each person has their own set of needs, dreams, passions, opinions, neuroses and challenges. The job of the manager is to figure those out and work with them to help them achieve what they want to achieve while at the same time strengthening the organization. I say forget this odd segmentation and work with the individuals – who are humans just like you.
If you yourself are no longer under 30 and you are dealing with an employee who is say 28 years old, cast your own mind back to when you were 28 and recall where you were then, what you hoped for, what it took to get you to where you are now and harness that experience to help make a difference. Bring to bear the intuition, experience and insight that you have developed over years of working with people of all ages and not some demographically templated response that might have been exacerbated by articles (like this one – if you didn’t really understand it).