Four tips to manage Gen Y to success

Friday, April 11th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Project managers know how technologically adept members of Gen Y are as a whole, and how quickly they can adapt to changes in the digital world. They were raised in the computer age, and have an innate understanding of web practices. But sometimes these natural strengths can lead to time-wasting habits. Below are four advanced project management tips to help you get the most from Gen Y team members:

  • Set the pace for the workday: Many members of Gen Y feel that any correspondence should be immediately returned. Responding to every text, email or instant message can eat up project time and distract the team. Designate "communication free" times during critical project stages, and turn off all phones. When using this strategy, it is important to reset the expectation of a timely response to "within 24 hours." 
  • React to bad news: If you ignore or discourage negative reports, you risk creating a climate of silence in which employees are reluctant to share bad news. Because of a desire to please their superiors, a large number of employees will put a positive spin on the project's status when making reports to senior management. "An executive should trust, but verify,'" said Ronald Thompson, professor of management at the Wake Forest University School of Business. 
  • Experiment to find the right level of flexibility: The appeal of flexible office hours and locations are well known, but structure is still integral to productivity. One option for managing a project is to track the completion of different tasks outside the office. Maybe you find writing reports easier and less stressful when you are sitting by a window in the coffee shop down the street. Pay attention to the type of tasks you need to accomplish, as well as the location and time of day that best suit you to undertake them.
  • Set a standard time for tardiness: Gen Y has a much different relationship with time than previous generations. Some members of Gen Y believe that is perfectly acceptable to arrive within 15 minutes of a scheduled appointment, where in the past a 3:00 meeting meant you were in the room by 2:50. Match your policy to the office environment. Sometimes punctuality might be optional, while at other times it is critical. Be very clear about timing expectations for each event and lead by example. 

At New Leaf Project Management, we provide over 200 hours of PM training to help you improve your skills. In addition, our QPM games and white papers provide an affordable way to learn while you earn professional development units for PMP recertification.

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