In 7 years as a director in a NGO overseas I have realized that the majority of my role is in people management, and relationship building in the workplace. I oversee a team of North Americans and Kenyans, mostly new graduates… or “millennials” if that is what you would like to call them.
There are a multitude of articles floating around about managing these “millennials”, covering differences in the new work attitude and culture that these keen go-getters are bringing to the table. The majority of team members I manage from this bracket are awesome- high achieving, focused, looking for adventure, and adapt well to many different situations. However, I have seen some trends- and wanted to share in hopes that I can save some head banging to other leadership somewhere else in the world. I have also had my share of people come to me wondering why they weren’t considered for internal promotion, or why they have received certain feedback/course corrections on evaluations.
This short list describes what to do if you would never like to be considered for other internal positions, be refused a reference letter upon your departure from my team, or if you really get on a roll- maybe even get a one way ticket out of your current position:
- Blame people, items, or anything other than yourself when things don’t go as planned/get done as needed.
- Ask for concrete feedback, and then pass it off because it is just one person’s opinion and you don’t agree
- Be sure to act bright eyed, keen, and excited in front of your supervisors, but when they aren’t around- be the funny guy/gal who “tells it like it is” and points out everything that can be changed within the organization that you are working with.
- Point out every time something isn’t within your job description, or docket… and then follow it up with a comment about the amount you are being paid.
- Ask for a meeting, give no details about what you would like to cover in the meeting, and then don’t come prepared with what you would like to cover
- Start emails to your management team with “hey…” and use multiple ellipsis throughout any correspondence. What the heck- throw a hashtag or two in there.
On the flip side- Here are the 6 things that you can do to get noticed, continually impress and quickly become a go to team member:
- Be accountable– if you are unable to deliver on a determined take away- tell someone- and figure out what the best plan can be. Take ownership for challenges and issues that come up!
- Ask for feedback– ask for clarity if you are having trouble understanding the context or tangible take away. Show that you are implementing the feedback right away through your actions, words, etc. If you would like, you can even circle back with a plan of how you will be committing to the received feedback.
- If you have a challenge or feedback for the organization- bring it forward in a constructive way to the right people! Make a plan of action to help, and be solution focused.
- Understand that at some points, everyone does something that is out of their job description (within reason)- see these opportunities as a chance for growth! If you are uncomfortable with the task, or request- refer to #3… and not a problem!
- If you would like a chance to sit down with your management team- when you request for a meeting- bring forward the items which you would like to discuss, and give a time frame in which you would be available to talk through them (bigger than 2 hours… so that you can ideally be accommodated).
- Use formal email etiquette, and know that everything you write down in an email exists FOREVER! Things like hashtags, short forms, and ellipsis all over the place are not appropriate.
Hopefully with these helpful tips- you will be off to the races in no time, and climbing the ladder to the position of your dreams…. Or, stuck by the water cooler complaining about why no one has noticed all of your hard work and dedication. Either way, I feel better having shared.