Your Career Coach
How to Manage Gen-Yers
I own a small interior design firm and recently hired a young (20-year-old) woman to do light clerical work part-time. I don’t know if things have changed since I was 20 or what, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to manage and motivate this girl. She brings all of her personal-relationship drama into the office, wears inappropriate clothing and has a slack attitude about her hours. Other than that, she’s really bright, enthusiastic and has a ton of potential. I worry that she is not going to have that great of a career if she doesn’t change. How can I help her be a better employee and person?
– Prof. Henrietta Higgins
Now is the time for you to start seeing yourself as a teacher, rather than as a boss. In my coaching practice, I see quite a few young women who have never had a professional mentor or role model — you can be this for her. Believe me, in time this young woman will look back and thank her lucky stars that you took the time to care for and invest in her.
Start by gently correcting her on something, like her clothing. You can explain to her that clients expect their interior designers to show creativity, but that it’s important to have sleeves on our tops, cover our navels, and wear shoes — not flip-flops — on our feet. She may never have been given this kind of feedback because she may have never had an office job.
Feel free to share stories of your first job and what you had to learn — she’ll drink that information in like a sponge, and it will make you more human and real to her. Also, encourage her to ask questions, and find time to relate to her one-on-one. My guess is that she’ll grow and thrive under your tutelage.