Are millennials difficult to manage or simply less tolerant of bad managers?

  I quit

I quit

Sixty-three percent of business decision makers and 68% of corporate recruiters say that it’s difficult to manage millennials while they offer different skills that are valuable to the workplace.  Bentley University Preparedness Study

As a manager of millennials, I have to say it is simply difficult to be an effective manager. Being a manager that cultivates an engaged workforce takes time and a certain skill set. Sure, millennials need a different type of managing or coaching than an older generation may be accustomed to. Let's face it, most managers don't know how to manage for engagement. If they did, we would not have a workforce where 70% report not being engaged at work. My guess is that GenX and Baby Boomers suffer in silence under poor managers where as millennials just quit. They may even post it on YouTube.

During the "Millennials in the Workplace” panel discussion at the Bloomberg Business Summit in Chicago, Shema Kabani, Founder and CEO of The Marketing Zen Group, relayed the story of her talented millennial employee who finally left her prior position after being asked to spend half a day filling out forms to get approval for buying a stapler. Having worked in government organizations where it has taken an inordinate amount of work to procure office supplies, I can relate to the ridiculousness of it. It often is symptomatic of an organizational bureaucracy. When employees of any generation are afforded coaching around using their strengths and the other elements that make up an engaged workplace, they can often tolerate the time it takes to procure a stapler. Millennials are not more difficult to manage, they are just less tolerant of disengaged at work and more vocal when they are not happy at work.

Jennifer Selke

Jennifer Selke is a UC Berkeley trained, Licensed Educational Psychologist and day camp director. Since 1991 Jennifer has been running day camps for UC Berkeley. Prior to that she ran after school and summer programs for the US Air Force. In her spare time she has a private practice assessing and teaching social skills to teens with Asperger’s, Autism, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities. She recently retired from a twelve year career as a school psychologist in the public schools. Jennifer’s specialization is in the area of managing and training the millennial workforce focusing on strengths and job satisfaction. Jennifer is on the faculty in the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education & is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Millennials at Work: How to Manage the GenX Boss

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For the last several years I, along with Betsy Flanagan, have been speaking on the topic of millennials in the workplace. These are the tweets from 2 sessions we ran this year at SXSW. 

Millennials at Work: Millennials Speak Out: How to Manage the GenX Boss

Praise & A’s: Maximizing a Millennial Workforce

Jennifer Selke

Jennifer Selke is a UC Berkeley trained, Licensed Educational Psychologist and day camp director. Since 1991 Jennifer has been running day camps for UC Berkeley. Prior to that she ran after school and summer programs for the US Air Force. In her spare time she has a private practice assessing and teaching social skills to teens with Asperger’s, Autism, ADHD, and Learning Disabilities. She recently retired from a twelve year career as a school psychologist in the public schools. Jennifer’s specialization is in the area of managing and training the millennial workforce focusing on strengths and job satisfaction. Jennifer is on the faculty in the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education & is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for New Media.