We walk through life in a straddle position – one foot in comfort and one in chaos. Everyone does it, but there’s a very specific type of straddle required of our more successful Millennials – we call it the “promotion straddle”. When a Millennial gets promoted, they are going to experience some chaos.
Millennials at work want opportunities for development and really good coaches that will help them grow. Millennials have three common requests of their employer: 1.) help me prioritize, 2.) give me direction, and 3.) give me feedback.
Most Millennials aren’t getting what they want – only 29% are engaged at work (Gallup, 2016). There’s good news, though, as some Millennials do find opportunities for growth and good coaches along the way. But then they get promoted, and that’s when they begin the “promotion straddle”.
As Millennials move up the org chart, the things they once enjoyed quickly slip away. Their new boss is more senior and much less hands on. Our Millennial got promoted because they demonstrated skill and experience coveted by the company – right? So what happens…the company wants them to 1.) set their own priorities; 2.) chart their own direction; and 3.) communicate up. This is what creates the chaos.
So how’s a fast tracking Millennial straddle the comfort and chaos?
- Priorities – tackle the easy stuff first. What you view as “easy” is an immediate opportunity based on something you do well. It’s still an open opportunity because the person who preceded you DID NOT have the abilities you do!
- Direction – keep playing to your strengths. Just lean into the new challenges with the skills and experience in which you find most confidence. Don’t complicate things by assuming that new challenges require new skills.
- Feedback – don’t wait on it…trigger it! Don’t assume your boss is going to look over your shoulder and pat you on the head every time you do something well. You got promoted because she assumes you do things well! Tell her your priorities, the direction you’re headed, and the things you’re accomplishing. By doing that you make it easy for your boss to give you feedback.