We’ve all heard the term “respect your elders.” Prior to taking on a management role, I often found myself trying to balance my age and inexperience and respecting colleagues – all while standing my ground. Managing up requires refined communication skills, influence, and a dominant personality. I am a quiet, detail-oriented introvert (which could be a threat according to my SWOT Analysis). Leading others is a difficult but worthwhile endeavor for anyone looking to move up the corporate ladder. But, how can you effectively collaborate and eventually lead colleagues who entered the workforce the same year that you were born? Start by managing your role as the youngest one in the office.
In the beginning, they will view you as a “child” or “kid”.
However, you can grow up right before their eyes by proving them otherwise. Start by embracing the term “other duties as assigned”. Our generation is known to look for the elevator, rather than the ladder, to the top of the corporate ladder. Don’t be afraid to pay your dues by helping out beyond your normal job duties by getting coffee, cleaning up after meetings, or staying an hour later. At times, this may seem useless, but there is always someone watching you take that extra step while you build additional experiences. It never hurts to go above and beyond expectations.
Be humble, but use your voice.
The great thing about paying dues is that it is a humbling experience. Just accept the fact that you don’t know everything just yet and learning is a lifelong process. By demonstrating a strong work ethic and humility, older colleagues will reciprocate the same respect you’ve given them in this process. But, don’t lose your voice by becoming a silent servant. This is where it is important to find balance between assertiveness and humility. Use your voice respectfully and never be afraid to reach out to your mentors/board members for advice (learn how to build a board here).
Take time to foster meaningful relationships.
Within all of the workplace chaos, it is easy to forget that we are all humans with families, friends, and passion projects beyond the career (i.e. Love & the sky). Don’t be afraid to ask/talk about significant others, kids, nieces/nephews, or other noteworthy people in each others lives. Be careful not to overshare or seem “nosy”, but be proactive about learning about your colleagues work experiences, core values, and career path. Knowing this information will transfer into positive working relationships where you turn into a respected colleague vs. some child giving orders.
What are some effective ways you’ve managed being a millennial in the workplace? Let us know below!