Millennials In IT: How To Talk To Old People - InformationWeek

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1/21/2015
09:06 AM
David Wagner
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Millennials In IT: How To Talk To Old People

There are certain phrases that are like passwords to the heart of your IT managers. And, no, I'm not talking about, "I bought you a fresh box of adult diapers."
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"I'll have it on your desk by 5."
Myth: You don't know how to do anything.

Show confidence that you can get something done on a deadline. Hit your deadline. Have a problem? Try going to a teammate instead of the boss. Show that you can take initiative without the boss holding your hand. You've got this.

(Image: Harold Lloyd)

Myth: You don't know how to do anything.
Show confidence that you can get something done on a deadline. Hit your deadline. Have a problem? Try going to a teammate instead of the boss. Show that you can take initiative without the boss holding your hand. You've got this.

(Image: Harold Lloyd)

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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2015 | 12:48:58 PM
Engagement in the moment

Dave very funny-- my favorite was the phone comment because that is the trait that drives me nuts for everyone! Millennials don't have that one cornered. I absolutely hate having a discussion with someone as they gaze downward. If it's that important excuse yourself and return when you can make eye contact. I have a rule that I never answered my office phone, cell phone IM, or text when in a meeting unless it is an emergency. Distractions are not multitasking they waste everyone's time and you lose credibility when you're disengaged from someone.

Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/21/2015 | 6:30:01 PM
Re: Engagement in the moment
>I have a rule that I never answered my office phone, cell phone IM, or text when in a meeting unless it is an emergency. 

I have a rule that I never attend a meeting unless it's an emergency.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:01:34 AM
Good advice beyond IT
Funny slideshow, Dave, and your advice applies to all young employees - not just those in IT. I think a lot of the disconnect between younger and older workers is due to a lack of good communication. Millennials get a bad reputation sometimes (which is unfortunate because I know so many that don't fit these stereotypes) and knowing how to communicate can be a big help.

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:08:37 AM
Re: Good advice beyond IT
Thanks, Kelly22. I get really annoyed with stereotypes of any kind. I know that for certain demographic purposes it works nicely for marketing and sales. But management is not a demographics business. You can't take your demos and apply them to your own employees. 

Knowing how to communicate for anyone in the business is essential. Since a lot of older managers feel that it isn't their job to figure you out, I figured I'd hand younger folks the key to figuring the old folks out. Think of me as a middle-aged translator. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:13:31 AM
Re: Engagement in the moment
@impactnow-the thing about the phones in the meeting is the power dynamic, right? Every time the boss says "I can answer my phone but you can't" it is a show of power. It is saying thatyou couldn't possibly have a call as important as mine are. It might even be true. But it is no way to manage. Because an effective manager is delegating enough responsibility that a call a team member gets should be important to the manager.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:14:26 AM
Re: Engagement in the moment
@Tom- You must be a doctor. :)
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:15:13 AM
Re: Good advice beyond IT
Exactly! I'll definitely be sharing this with my peers, I think some of them could benefit from some added advice to break the stereotypes.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/22/2015 | 10:16:37 AM
Re: Good advice beyond IT
@kelly22- Thanks for the shares, Kelly. Tell them to jump into the chat, too.

Also, for everyone: Share this with managers, too. They might learn something about themselves. :)
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
1/23/2015 | 11:45:44 AM
Re: Engagement in the moment

Dave I completely agree, unfortunately that power play even rears its head in people's personal lives I have been at social engagements from religious functions to dinners and seen people unable to remove their downward gaze. Phones sometimes fuel people's unrealistic idea of being irreplaceable.

Someone once gave me great advice, they said you will always be replaceable at work so never fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Spend your time worrying about the places and roles you have that are not replaceable, mother, daughter, friend, sibling etc. I still remember that on days when I lose focus.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/26/2015 | 7:12:18 PM
Re: Engagement in the moment
@TerryB- Well, sometimes you play it straight. Some time you play it funny. I take this really seriously, because i think millennials are getting a bad name in business. There are more of them in the work place than us old folks. We need to not only learn to work with them, but soom they'll be our bosses. We better know how to work FOR them. 
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