Workplace Relationships

How to Survive a Millennial Manager

He watched The Office you watched Cheers—how do you communicate?

Tips_For_Working_With_Younger_Boss_Dec2013

It’s happening across the nation. As baby boomers start to retire (the ones who can, anyway), the millennials are closing in. They like to job hop, and it’s hard for companies to get them to stay. This generation spans fifteen years, and many have built a career and are already getting promoted. Now one is your boss. He can’t stop talking about virtual reality and you miss the simplicity of an age before social media.  It doesn’t seem like you’re ever on the same page.

But does it really matter if you get along with your younger boss as long as the work gets done? As noted by The Washington Post, the answer is a resounding yes. A study was recently published in the Journal of Organizational Psychology that surveyed 8,000 employees from 61 German companies. The results showed that a higher percentage of younger people managing older employees resulted in a 12% increase in negative emotions. And those negative emotions, in turn, led to less than stellar manager reports in regard to financial and organizational performance.

How are you supposed to take orders from someone who reminds you of your child?

1.       Steer Clear of Judgment

No two career paths are identical. This holds true regardless of age. All workers have different experiences and skills that lead them to where they are in life. Even if your boss is younger, try to trust that she gained the position for a good reason. Regardless of whether or not that reason was because of “who she knew” or not, it’s out of your hands. So try to assume the best.

After all, assuming the worst isn’t going to help anyone, even if it turns out to be true. Being younger doesn’t mean your boss is going to be a bad manager. Despite her age and fewer years on the job, she may have a variety of unique skills that make her a great boss.

Of course, it’s also quite possible that you’ll eventually come to find out that she’s wholly unprepared for the position. Even then, avoid complaining.  It’s still in your best interest to get along—you may even want to help guide her in the right direction.

2.       Become an Advisor

Regardless of whether your new millennial pal is well-suited for his new position, he’s probably not going to know as much about the industry as you do. You’ve been working longer, so you know who the players are and how they operate. You can draw on these past experiences and apply them to current events, imparting knowledge to your manager.

All of these things are incredibly valuable to a young manager. Although his tools may be sharp, he might not know how to use them yet. You can help him avoid first time mistakes by giving him advice and sharing the wisdom of your past experiences. Just be sure to come across as a helpful advisor rather than patronizing. Think of your manager as a co-worker and peer rather than an inexperienced child.

3.       Be Open to Communication

The key to any relationship is communication. So make sure to talk! If you play it right, you can create a real connection with your younger boss. Embrace team-building activities and really get to know her. Maybe take her out to lunch once in a while. If she really is out of her element with this position, she’ll want a co-worker she can trust and rely on. And, once you become familiar with her on a personal level, it can really change the dynamic—you start to see her as an actual person rather than “The Millennial.”

Do you have a younger boss? How do you handle it? Let us know about it in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

How Not to Decorate Your Desk

Cabin of officeIf you have an office job, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at your desk. And with so much time spent in one place, it’s natural to want your space to reflect your style and make you feel comfortable. After all, your cubicle, office, or workspace is basically your home-away-from-home.

But when it comes to decorating a space you don’t technically own, there are some do’s and don’ts. In fact, if you’re decorating is too heavy on the “don’ts,” it may be costing you your reputation.

According to Barbara Pachter, author of New Rules at Work, “It’s hard to function in a messy office, and people assume your office chaos will spill over to their project and their files will be lost in your mess.”

To avoid this workspace blunder, take a look at these design tips and tricks.

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Three Ways to Show You Appreciate Your Co-Workers

Appreciation at WorkPositive relationships in the workplace have never been more important than in today’s fast-paced and competitive marketplace. At the end of the day, your success often depends on your co-worker’s willingness to partner with you. So it’s essential that your colleagues feel you are thankful for all they do.

Three Ways To Say Thanks
It helps to pay attention to the type of thanks that best resonates with your teammates. Then, consider which of these would appeal most to them as individuals.

1. Verbal Attention
Most people love compliments, especially when they are genuine. Just saying “I really appreciate all you did for this project” can make someone’s day. It’s even better if you do so within earshot of the boss, such as a compliment passed along in a staff meeting.

2. Notes of Appreciation
Some people are embarrassed by any kind of public display of attention. It’s just the way they are built. For those co-workers, consider sending an email and copying the boss, if your team has access.

If a co-worker has really gone an extra mile so that your whole team can succeed, consider sending a greeting card or eCard to make them feel appreciated.

3. Small Acts of Kindness
Every workplace has days when one person on a team is deluged with tasks, works late, and feels under pressure. That’s when a random act of kindness is a perfect way to show how you value their efforts.

It can be as simple as offering them a hot cup of coffee, a cold bottle of water, or their favorite candy bar from the vending machine.

Thankfulness is Contagious
Don’t be surprised if your thankfulness comes back to you in unexpected ways. Thankfulness tends to be contagious, and your co-workers will likely be inspired to pass thanks along.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The Results Are In: Do You Have a Mentor?

what_to_expect_mentorship_webMentors are people who can help you in your career or personal growth. They can be of any age, profession, or education level. The ultimate goal of mentorships is to help you develop and succeed. Since they are so important, we wanted to know how many Movin’ On Up readers currently have a mentor.

Our poll revealed that the majority of respondents (52%) said they’ve never had a mentor. That means more than half of readers have missed out on the benefits of a mentoring relationship. Only 21% of respondents reported currently having a mentor, and 14% responded that they don’t have a mentor right now but have at one time.

Another 10% of respondents said they are a mentor, and 3% selected the “Other” option and added their own responses, including:

  • “I would love to have a mentor.”
  • “I’ve been looking for one for 30 years.”

For tips on mentorship and finding the right mentor for you, check out this article.

Do you have a mentor? Do you have tips for finding one? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

It’s Time to Thank Your Mentor

thank_mentor_webIn America, Thank Your Mentor Day is Thursday, Jan. 21, and is an initiative of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To celebrate this day, many people will reach out to their mentors and thank them for the encouragement, guidance, and wisdom they’ve given. It’s a day for mentees to recognize and give thanks for the positive impact their mentors have left on their lives.

Do you have a mentor? Consider thanking them for all they’ve done to help you grow in your personal or professional career by:

  • Sending a thank-you note or email
  • Expressing your gratitude on social media
  • Sending your mentor flowers or other gifts
  • Taking your mentor to lunch

You can also write a tribute to your mentor on the Who Mentored You? Facebook page. If you write about your mentor, consider sending them a link so they can see the impact they’ve left on your life.

If you want to send a thank-you card, you can download one by clicking here.

And remember, passing on what your mentor has helped you learn may be one of the best ways to say thanks. You can reach out to a young person in your community and make a positive impact on their life just as your mentor has done for you.

How do you show thanks to your mentor? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Mentoring in the Digital Age

digital_mentorship_webMany successful people can say they’ve met at least one person who has left a significant positive impact on their life or career. That person may be a teacher, coach, boss, co-worker, or other important relationship.

Today, an increasing number of professionals are seeking out mentors as a professional development tool, and through mentoring, many have seen improvements in productivity, leadership skills, and career advancement.

In this digital age, mentoring takes on a whole different look. No longer are we limited to coffee shop meetings or phone calls. With the advent of social media and email, mentoring now comes in easy, fast, and variable forms.

Though the way mentees communicate with mentors may have changed, one thing remains the same. If you want a mentor, you have to seek one out and be deliberate and proactive in that search.

And to help you make the most of your mentor relationship, we’ve gathered four useful tips.

  1. Respect your mentor’s time. Even with the ease of technology, digital mentors may not be able to reply to you or contact you immediately. It’s important to set expectations with your mentor and ask for their support before bombarding them with questions or tight deadlines.
  2. Don’t discriminate on age. Not all mentors have to be older than you. In today’s digital world, many people can learn from younger mentors who are tech-savvy. Mentorship is about having a trusted relationship, a desire to learn, and an open mind. Don’t discount potential digital mentors simply because of their age.
  3. Mentoring online requires trust. Any professional relationship needs to be confidential, so resist the urge to share what your mentor or your mentee tells you on social media or other digital platforms. A mentoring relationship is based on being honest about fears and failures, and if you share those fears publically without permission, you’re likely to lose the trust of your mentor or mentee.
  4. Don’t limit yourself. While reaching out online for a mentor is acceptable, it’s likely that you will want to meet your mentor in person at some point. Good mentoring relationships may begin digitally, but end with a real connection. Whether that connection is an actual meeting or a phone call, be prepared to move your mentoring relationship into the real world.

The internet and platforms like Periscope, Facebook, and instant messaging are creating opportunities for mentees to connect with mentors on a global scale. Furthermore, they offer a place to interact in real time with those mentors.

Remember, when done well, mentorship is a give-and-take relationship. Both parties, either in person or online, can enrich their knowledge and improve their careers.

Have you had a digital mentor? How did that relationship work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Building Important Relationships Through Mentorship

building_relationships_through_mentorships_webMentorships have been around for centuries as a way to build personal development and growth. According to Mentoring.org, mentoring “guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.”

In fact, research confirms that quality mentoring relationships can help young people in various areas of life, including personal, academic, and professional.

Key Factors for Positive Mentorships
Since mentoring relationships are so beneficial, it’s important to understand what goes into a successful mentorship. According to research, most of the mentors in failed mentoring relationships hold a belief that they should reform, or fix, their mentee. Alternatively, almost all of the mentors in successful relationships believe their role is to support the mentee, or help them develop and grow.

The Hamilton Fish Institute, a research organization for safer schools, revealed 10 important features of successful mentors, including:

  • Be a friend.
  • Have realistic goals and expectations.
  • Give the mentee a voice and choice in decisions.
  • Be positive.
  • Let the mentee have control over what you talk about.

In order to better prepare yourself for a mentoring relationship, whether you’re the mentor or mentee, let’s dig a little deeper into three of those features.

Be a friend.
Mentors can be anyone of any age, gender, ethnicity, education or professional level, or background. For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America helps volunteers connect with youth in need of guidance and support. The key to being a great Big Brother or Big Sister is being a friend first. Leadership, guidance, advice, and trust come much easier when a friendship is already established.

If you are looking for a mentor or already have one, it may be difficult to build trust initially. But, if your mentor’s intentions truly are to help you grow and develop, trusting their advice and action plans can help you get where you want to be in your life, education, or career. And remember – it’s important to look at your mentors as friends, but it’s equally important to respect them as authority figures.

Have realistic goals and expectations.
As with all new ventures and relationships, it’s important to set realistic expectations. If you go into a mentorship with the goal of changing your mentee, but your mentee’s goal is to stay on the same path they’re already on, there are going to be disagreements and frustrations. Mentors should focus on establishing a positive relationship built on trust and friendship first. From there, the mentee and mentor can set expectations together.

Mentees should also approach the relationship with realistic expectations. If your mentor is a business leader, it may not be realistic to expect you’ll land a job with their company because of your connection. Instead of facing possible disappointment in the future, discuss your expectations up front. That way, you’ll be on the same page and you can set goals that will help you develop and grow.

Be Positive
Compliments and positive attitudes can go a long way. As a mentor, it’s important to offer praise and encouragement to help build your mentee’s self-esteem. Instead of criticizing mistakes, try to be supportive and ask how you can help the situation. According to the Hamilton Fish Institute, “One of the most important things you can do as a mentor is to help your mentee develop self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Likewise, being positive applies to the mentee as well. If you have a mentor, always be courteous and appreciative of their time and advice. You may not always agree with their suggestions, but it’s important to remain positive when you explain your opinion. When both people in a mentorship are positive and respectful, much more can be accomplished.

How do you build successful mentorships? Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Share your story in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.