Millennials? You Still Manage Them as Individuals

Amy Gallo, in her recent Harvard Business Review blog post, addressed what she calls four essentially false beliefs about the Millennial generation in the workplace:

  1. They are completely different from what Boomers were at that age.
  2. They want more purpose at work than previous generations do/did.
  3. They seek more work/life balance too.
  4. They need special treatment at work.


She refers to several pieces of research that do not support beliefs #1, 2, and 4 and concur only slightly with #3. If you are at all interested or perhaps are struggling to manage millennials in your workplace, her piece is short and worth a read.

What was confirmed for me was my philosophy that the best manager gets to know each of his/her employees as an individual. This means becoming familiar with their skills, motivators, preferences, comfort zones, attitudes, level of adult development, and so forth. The richness of this information goes a lot farther toward informing how best to manage the employee than the fact that he or she happens to have been born between 1980 and 2000 and lives with more than one foot in a social media world.

By all means, inform yourself of some “Gen Y” tendencies that are touted in the popular media. By all means, make your own observations of the millennials you encounter, hopefully without strong negative bias because they appear quite “different” from you. But do look beyond the stereotype to that immensely complex young human being that walks in to work each day.

© 2014 – 2016, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

Ian Cook About Ian Cook

Ian Cook, presenter and consultant, works with managers who want to increase their effectiveness as a leader and build a stronger team. To book Ian for a training seminar, team facilitation or keynote presentation, call toll-free at: 1-888-FULCRUM (385-2786) or e-mail: For more articles and book reviews of interest to managers please go to: