Millennial mangers bring a certain insight unique to their age and experience that make them particularly well-suited to manage other millennials. How they take a more modern approach to management is their greatest strength . . . a “Super Power”, if you will. However, any power when used to excess or (for evil) can turn the “Super Power” into a “Super Liability”. Take, for example, the three Super Powers below of Structure, Technology, and Personal (i.e., injecting a good deal of one’s personal life into the professional work environment) and how these can be agents for good or when taken to excess, agents for that other thing. . .
The elements that make Structure, Technology, and the Personal are self-explanatory. However, when out of balance and used to excess, the elements take on a more elusive and sinister hue.
Structure: While we all understand why the elements under this super power gone astray are not-so-good, the real issue is why it comes to that. Many times, it is due to over-correction when employees either start taking advantage of a more hands-off approach or are not producing or meeting deadlines due to lack of clarity around expectations, roles, or responsibilities. However, sometimes the switch happens when the manager gets busy, and it becomes easier or faster to bark orders rather than take the time to explain or train.
Technology: Mentioned often, the over-reliance of technology in business communication can be the sources of many issues . . . primary because you cannot read TONE (no I’m not yelling) in text . . . or even in a text. There is a time for a text, IM, or an email; and there is a time to pick-up the phone or do a face-to-face (irony here is technology still can play a role). Overuse of technology can also create skill-gaps around how to preform manual processes when technology fails. Too often business slams to a halt when the server goes down, a database is down, there’s a poor internet connection, or a PowerPoint isn’t working. Disaster/contingency planning can be just as important a succession planning . . . the show must go on. And finally, of course, technology can also be a huge distra . . . Squirrel!
Personal: Lets’ say too personal and/or TMI and/or seeing what is on someone’s Facebook newsfeed (OMG). Sometimes knowing too much about a manager or co-worker isn’t a good thing, for any number of reasons. Sometimes the personal can interfere with the professional: Rather than serving to lighten a work environment, it can make it the source of friction or gossip, when the personal outside the office begins to effect the professional inside the office. In addition, knowing the “too personal” can also cause a loss of respect, not by outward defiance or anything, but rather no longer taking someone as seriously as maybe they should be taken at the office. Another source of headache can be invited by the manager who says, “Text me [Contact] me day or night”. It may be a good idea to put some parameters around what that means, otherwise you are going to be on-call 24/7, and many times, waaaay beyond the call of duty and/or outside of the scope of being professional. Lastly being seen as more of a “friend” than a supervisor can cause a direct report to be a little too casual or frank with a supervisor, which can almost border on insubordination or make giving and receiving redirecting feedback challenging. If there are any hint of this being the case, the direct report needs to understand that at work you are their supervisor 1st and their friend 2nd, and you need to make it clear when you need to change hats.
At the end of the day, to keep the super power a “Super Power”. Stay balanced. Don’t overdo. And remember: Nothing is good in excess.