My Bookstr Interview: Why Some Managers Struggle to Lead in the Multigenerational Workplace—And How To Improve

One of the best ways to find career and leadership inspiration is to read: blogs, websites, newsletters…and of course, books. (In fact, soon I will be sharing a comprehensive resource list that I’ve been compiling with input from many of my readers.)

I am always looking for new books, which is why I love the site Bookstr: It offers great suggestions for my next read, along with quizzes and author interviews. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bookstr CEO and cofounder Sarah Hill to discuss my two books, Getting from College to Career and Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders


Taking questions is always my favorite part of these appearances. Viewers asked for advice on everything from how and where to network, to that age-old conundrum of how to get experience without a job and a job without experience.

One of the most thought-provoking questions centered around what millennials should do when they are tapped for a manager role before they feel ready to manage.

Here are my three best tips for becoming a leader in today’s multigenerational workplace:

1. You will learn what you see.

When I surveyed leaders for my book on how people learn to become a boss, the vast majority of respondents said they learned from their previous bosses, both good or bad. (Presumably those with the bad bosses were learning what not to do, as I’ve discussed before the value of a “bad boss.”) Note that most managers didn’t take a course or solicit advice online about how to leadthey emulated what they had seen.

2. You can set the tone.

Sometimes new bosses feel a little tentativethey don’t want to step on toes or change accepted processes. But there’s a valuable tool you can use to help your team collectively learn how to work together better, and that’s the “style conversation.”

Teams work better when norms are clear, so let your direct reports know if you prefer that they check in at every stage of the project, or just when they’re having trouble. Let them know whether you’re going to pore over every word of their report or want that “TL; DR” (too long; didn’t read) summary. Clearly communicate your communication preferences and you’ll set your direct reports up for success.

3. Coach.

Millennials have been vocal about their affinity for a “coaching” leadership style, rather than the outdated “command and control” approach. The reality is that probably none of us of any generation cared for that “because I said so” method of management. I admire millennials for wanting managers who give them feedback, training and development.

Managers of all generations should keep in mind that half of employees who quit blame their manager, finds a Gallup poll. Becoming a good millennial manager is no different than becoming a good Gen X manager or a good Baby Boomer manageror eventually a good Gen Z manager. Good management is timeless.

The goal is to embrace the methods that work for you, and set a good example for the future managers who are watching your every move.

I invite you to check out the rest of my Bookstr interview…and keep those questions coming. In the meantime, I have one for you; please share your answer in the comment section below or on Twitter: What is your best tip for being a leader in the multigenerational workplace?

Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

Sign up for lindsey's newsletter

Share this post

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email