The Management Mistake That Throttles Millennial Productivity

millennials in a meeting

In my last newsletter, I shared tips to manage millennials for maximum productivity, but there's one management mistake that will throttle Gen-Y workers' efficiency every time: disengaged management, otherwise known as "not caring."

As I wrote in my column for Lifehack.org this week, millennials thrive on mentorship and continuous feedback. It fuels our motivation and stokes our internal fires to be creative and go above and beyond what's expected of us. When this management is absent, one of two things usually happens: the Gen-Y worker executes his job responsibilities and nothing more, or he quits.

What Constitutes "Not Caring"?

I polled some of my Twitter followers and former classmates to get some real-world examples of disengaged management that affected their productivity, which appear below. I've paraphrased some quotes for brevity and anonymity's sake.

  • Disappearing. Many managers fail to cultivate relationships with their team; this breeds disengagement with Gen Y because employees can feel unimportant or forgotten.

    "I'll sometimes go weeks between emails with my boss. It's like she doesn't care about the company or what I'm doing."

  • Ignoring others' ideas. Millennials' inquisitive nature and propensity to question the status quo makes for a wellspring of ideas. When these go ignored -- or, even worse, acknowledged, complimented and then forgotten about -- employees feel powerless and lose the sense of ownership they require to do their best, most productive work.

    "I've stopped participating in brainstorming meetings. The boss only rolls out his ideas, so what's the point in speaking up and sharing my own?"

  • Pushing for productivity without rapport. Millennials have the potential to be workhorses, but without a conscientious manager at the helm, they may feel like robots -- a threatening proposition, considering that Gen Y is hailed for its creativity.

    "The only time my boss talks to me is when she's telling me I should be working twice as fast as I am at the time. I often want to ask, 'Why should I break my back for you,' but I need this job to pay rent."

Do you work with a disengaged manager? How has his or her "not caring" affected your productivity?