Managing a variety of personalities can be challenging for an employer who has a mix of Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomer employees. As a manager it's your job to make sure everyone on your team is being as productive as possible, even if you have to treat everyone a little bit differently to do so.
The more effective you are at flexing your managing style, the more effectively your employees will carry out their assignments. Devora Zack writes in her book Managing for People Who Hate Managing: "Flexing your style means being versatile in how you lead, communicate and motivate. A tough approach propels one employee; mild-mannered encouragement inspires another. Being flexible requires proficiency in a range of techniques; to draw upon as needed."
To learn more about how to deal with different types of employees' personalities, we read through Zack's book as well as spoke to Dan Schawbel, OPEN Forum contributor, career expert and founder of Millennial Branding (a Gen Y research and management consulting firm), for the best ways to manage a worker who hates being managed. Here are five takeaways you can use with your team:
1. What personality type is each of your employees?
Finding out if your employees are thinkers or feelers will make it much easier to manage them. Thinkers are more prone to making decisions based solely on logic, while feelers make their decisions based on relationships and value what is "good" over what is objectively best for the team. If you're not sure who fits which type, gauge how they react the next time someone disagrees with them, and you'll have your answer.
After identifying your employees' personality types, you can adjust your managing style to their way of working. Be more sensitive to the feelers and focus more on your talking points when dealing with thinkers.
2. Build a relationship.
To get through to people who don't like to be managed, try building a relationship with them, first. If you are successful at this, you might be surprised at how loyal they become. "Results and relationships are intertwined, even inseparable" Zack writes.
3. Set the bar high.
When people do standard work, they feel mediocre about their jobs, and even praise won't help them get out of this rut.
"They recognize that their manager has a low bar, so they do, too. They feel average about the work product as well," Zack says.
Instead, push your employees. Because most workers, especially the ones who don't like being managed, actually feel the way they do because they're independent and creative. Use their skills to your advantage.
4. Know what's most important to them.
When it comes to Gen Y workers, freedom, flexibility and trust are the most important characteristics of their ideal workspace, Schawbel tells us.
Gen Y is also known for wanting mentorships with their managers, so be willing to provide them regular feedback instead of annual reviews. Better yet, take it one step further and create leadership development programs where your younger workers aren't just being told what to do, but they're also being trained to move beyond their job descriptions.
5. Quit taking things personally.
If you're going to properly manage your workers—especially if they despise hierarchy—you need to remember to not take their reluctance to follow your directions too personally. Identify their personality, win over their trust and you will start to see things change for the better.
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