As the millennial generation eclipses Baby Boomers to make up the majority of the workforce, an increasing number of millennials have begun to transition into leadership roles. In fact, some millennials are overseeing teams made up of older and more experienced employees. These evolving workforce dynamics sometimes require millennial managers to adapt their management styles to different working groups. Whether you are managing a small team or an entire department, building a foundation of trust with your team members is essential for effective leadership.
If you find yourself in a leadership role, here are 4 areas to focus on in order to develop strong working relationships with your team:
Build trust with your team
If your team doesn’t trust you, getting them to follow your lead will prove to be increasingly difficult. Effective managers consistently find ways to engage with different members of the team (i.e., weekly meetings, after work events, etc.) to not only build trust, but learn the best ways to communicate with them. As technology has evolved, however, the way in which teams communicate has changed as well. Web conferencing and Skype technology have taken away many of the interpersonal aspects of working within a team. To build trust with your team in light of these changes, millennial managers should focus on conducting more face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face meetings will get team members actively involved in discussions and project planning, which will help to enhance collaboration and overall engagement.
Take constructive feedback like a leader
Part of being an effective manager is being able to learn from your mistakes as well as accept feedback from members of your team. Taking constructive criticism can be difficult for any manager, but being able to use feedback to improve systems or processes is a sign of a great leader. To avoid being a manager who can’t deal with negative feedback, millennial managers must cultivate a culture within your team that encourages members to feel comfortable giving honest and respectful feedback.
Be a continuous learner
Just because you are in a leadership role doesn’t mean you have it all figured out. For some, it can be tempting to become complacent once you’re leading a team. However, it’s more important than ever to continuously find ways to learn new things as they apply to your role. Whether you want to find ways to streamline your team’s communication or implement new technology, staying abreast of industry news and trends will enable you to make the right recommendations for your team. For example, you can take an online course or attend an upcoming conference to help your team proactively adapt to industry trends to remain competitive.
Hone in on your soft skills
While technical skills like Microsoft Excel or Adobe Photoshop, for example, can be great to bring to any role, as a manager, it’s just as (if not more) important to have stronger soft skills. Understanding how your team responds to collaborating and employing the right communication style that leads to higher productivity. For example, improving your active listening skills or working on your emotional intelligence are just a couple of ways to show your team members the steps you take to build stronger working relationships.