It’s been said by many a manager that Millennials are the hardest to manage. Frustration surges through the manager’s mind and surfaces on his face in several shades of red. He is sometimes at his wit’s end and sees no hope in sight.
This is common among managers who were raised in a high work ethic environment. Back when the system of management was first developed, loyalty was a key factor in its support. The reciprocation of that corporate loyalty was enough to increase efforts among workers at every level.
Loyalty is no longer a factor in business. Corporate boards have turned people into mere resources that are as easy to discard or pick up as a piece of equipment. No longer is an employee’s expertise of additional value, as companies are convinced they can find a better replacement with little effort.
The only way to get and keep an employee engaged today is through personal ownership. Not the type of ownership that comes from shares of stock, although that might be appropriate in some settings, but owning a part of the business process that makes the company successful.
There are five questions that every engaging manager asks his team to draw out their best possible work.
1. What’s on your mind? This question gives the employee an opportunity to share his perspective. He is the only one in the company who has his vantage point and may have something simple to offer that can improve the bottom line. Giving voice to each worker enables two-way communication and brings insights to management from all angles of the business. Many times this information can help turn company goals into realistic achievements.
2. What do you think? The question not only tells the employee that his viewpoint is important, but it also demonstrates that management doesn’t have all the answers. It allows a journey between managers and workers to develop new perspectives, processes, and profit points. The frankness of conversation can generate clarity of information that can be used to adjust the company’s measureable objectives.
3. What are you learning? The inference is continuing education, but it’s also an open door for employees to update management on the new trends and cutting edge technics that might be more economical and sustainable. This coupled with the fact that those who continue educating themselves increase their master craftsmanship, raises the standards of the company from average benchmarks to world-class operations. It also becomes a tool that can generate new strategies for meeting the company’s objectives.
4. What should I know? Respect if given with this question, but it also draws out the latest information available from those who are in the trenches with the customers and vendors. Learning what can be done faster, cheaper and at a higher quality level increases revenue and protects a company from its competition. Insights can also be gained that allow for the creation of new action plans that better fulfill the company’s strategies.
5. What am I missing? By adding this simple question the manager is able to learn how to better manage his team and be clued in on industry changes that he’s not aware exist. Both forms of information directly impact how the action plan is managed and what adjustments might need to be made during the quarter.
By asking these simple five questions, managers can gain enough information to direct their team toward success. This effort is personalized and is respected by everyone will also push the business forward based on the employee’s ownership of their part of the process. And, the manager’s frustration will be greatly reduced.