I recently began reading Radical Candor by Kim Scott, after a client recommended it to me during a multi-week Management Development Program we’ve developed for his Sales Managers and Vice Presidents. At Riverbend, we think a lot about what makes a great manager so great.

Early on in the book, Kim Scott shares her insight about having employees who are “Rock Stars” and others who are “Super Stars”. She defines a “Rock Star” as being a top performer at their role who wants to be great, perhaps take on new responsabilities, but with a gradual growth trajectory. A “Super Star” is the person who is constantly looking to the next role, promotion, and finish line to cross. Scott reminds us that usually we only focus on developing and challenging our Super Stars, but that Rock Stars are critical to have in order to build a High Performing Team, and they are just as important to invest in and ensure they are motivated and satisfied at work.

Great managers know the goals and motivations of their employees, and develop them accordingly, knowing that each team member is very different.

As a millennial, I can tell you the three things I think are most important for someone to do when managing a millennial:

  1. Know my “tune ins” and “tune outs”. I (we) seek constant feedback, and I want to get better – but make sure you give me positive feedback and constructive corrections in a way that is inspiring to me and doesn’t tune me out. Shut me down too many times and I’ll be looking for a new manager.
  2. Know what motivates me. I (we) are a purpose-driven generation – don’t assume we’re all driven by making more money- there are a lot of other aspects of my job that get me out of bed in the morning.
  3. Help me see where I’m going. I (we) love to know the value we bring to the organization, help me see what piece I am in the puzzle, and help me lay a path forward to the next thing I want to do. This is where I think Scott’s insight into Rock Star vs. Super Star is so critical – do not assume I’m not motivated if I want to be a Rock Star for the next few years, and don’t be surprised if I want to be a Super Star and you’re not helping me advance, that I go elsewhere and to a job outside the organization.

At Riverbend, we have workshops which can help your managers learn to do these 3 things and manage their millennials successfully…. Feel free to email me and ask about LIFO, the COACH model, Motivational Leadership, and Managing Millennials workshops for your team at sarahk@theriverbendgroup.com.

Author Sarah Kaplan

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