The Millennial Manager’s ‘Dilemma’​

I had the distinct opportunity to serve as a judge for CSULB’s College Bowl 2020, side-by-side with top industry leaders from Kaiser, AltaMed, medical informatics field, the VA, and others.

An attendee asked a great question which I’d like to share with my network.

QUESTION

“Given the undergraduate healthcare administration students are all looking into careers as managers and administrators in healthcare, what are the biggest issues that you see with hiring millennial managers today, how are you and your management team breaking these obstacles, and what characteristics separate a “manager” and a ‘millennial manager’?” 

ANSWER

I don’t see a distinction between a ‘manager’ and a ‘millennial manager’. With that being said, yes, there are challenges surrounding the matter. Being a millennial myself, I think one has to work harder in boardrooms to be taken seriously. As a director (managed care) responsible for negotiating on behalf of over 20K pts, several years ago, while most executives (external as well as internal) were supportive (and appreciated a ‘new/fresh face’) I encountered counterparts who were somewhat — seemingly — condescending …. such that during a lunch meeting, a side-joke was made regarding how I’m “… a baby”.

I learned not to react to both implicit and explicit biases surrounding my relative youth. And look where I am now. C-suite serving over 100K across multiple markets.

College Bowl 2020 at California State University, Long Beach

And look where I am now. C-suite serving over 100K patients across multiple markets.

Do not be discouraged. And try not to see yourself as anything different from your role based on your age alone. Stay to metrics to demonstrate objective performance. Realize that your job as a leader is to set a clear direction, provide resources for team success, and let the team perform while removing barriers which will inevitably surface. Always reflect on the impact and ‘affect’ you have on any place of work (ie.: during your interactions, do folks walk away with a positive or negative net experience). Know that leaders are to inspire their staff and business partners in a given environment).

About 90% of my workforce, across the decade I’ve been in leadership from provider to payer, has been comprised of ‘baby boomers’. 

Know where to throw your weight before throwing your weight around. Listen more as opposed to talking. Know your customers (internal) and have regular 1:1s with your team members to build that relationship. Do not take an authoritative approach as this will backfire on you. Make it about the team, not you. Be responsive to their needs and they will be responsive to yours.

We do not, and should not, discriminate based on age. No matter the age (baby boomer, millennial, or otherwise).

We do not, and should not, discriminate based on age. No matter the age (baby boomer, millennial, or otherwise). We look for leadership skills and ability to align with overall organizational objectives and strategies. 

Do not be self-conscious re: your age as this will show right away. 

The ‘biggest issue’ is a general lack of experience (naturally). Focus on building experience and lead your career based on metrics you have enumerate on your resume. You can always reach out to me for guidance/direction when you get stuck.

I invite my network to add any pointers I might have missed.

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