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Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.


However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.


Be Mindful


Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.


Give and Take


Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.


Do Your Job


It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.


Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.


Tasnia Nasar | Contributing Writer

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For most managers, learning how to effectively lead a team is a daunting task. Understanding what skills everyone brings to the table, and how to use them to the company’s advantage, is a challenge on its own. But oftentimes the most difficult part of management is knowing how to deal with that one employee or manager. The one who always seems to be in the middle of a heated argument, the one whose name is constantly brought up in HR meetings. Here are a few tips on how to manage a toxic employee or manager.


How to handle a toxic employee:


Look Past Their Brilliance


To form an objective opinion on a difficult employee, you need to separate their work performance from their behaviour. Sometimes the most competent worker can have a poor attitude, which eventually affects the rest of the team. This can be destructive to the company’s morale in the long run, so how do you correct the problem? Start by keeping an eye on their team dynamics; jot down feedback from their co-workers; document HR complaints. Make it clear that the employee’s performance is not relevant to the issue, but rather it’s their attitude that’s a problem. Once you stop rationalizing their troubling behaviour because of the value they bring to the organization, you’ll begin to see the full picture more clearly.


Reinforce Accountability for Everyone


There’s only one set of rules for the whole team, and everyone should understand that. If others become aware that certain people get a pass for their bad behaviour, resentment and dysfunction will begin to simmer beneath the surface. Be firm with your team and make your expectations clear. Establish the ground rules for appropriate behaviour, and reinforce the penalties for not adhering to them.


Be Proactive


Observe the individual in action, provide feedback and coach them if necessary; these are your tools for implementing real change. If you create opportunities where you can work with the individual and provide constructive feedback, you can offer advice to improve their behaviour and show them alternative ways to approach a situation. Equally as important, make sure you provide positive feedback to the individual when it’s justified; this well help them see how situations can be handled with a positive approach moving forward.


If There’s No Progress, Go Further


Once you’ve implemented the above steps, you’ll have to assess whether the individual is making progress. Be honest with yourself; if the employee continues to disrupt the work environment, you must take further action. Keep your superiors informed of the entire process, as they need to understand how this employee’s negativity impacts the entire team and overall productivity. You may want to work with your HR specialist as well to develop and implement an escalation program which includes termination for lack of compliance.


How to handle a toxic manager:


Learn to Speak Their Language


Dealing with a difficult boss is not an ideal situation for an employee. But sometimes learning more about your boss – their likes, dislikes, goals and fears – can work in your favour. Observe your boss’s behaviours and preferences; if you speak to your boss’s core interests and match their style of communication, it can be a great way to get them to listen to what you have to say.


Focus on Their Strengths, Help with Their Weaknesses


You can help your boss by emphasizing what they’re already good at. A great way is to help them improve their own performance. If your manager lacks organization, offer to help him or her stay on top of their schedule. If showing up late to meetings is a problem for your boss, take the initiative to start the next one yourself. If you help your boss succeed, you’ll be seen as an asset, and the work you’ve put into making the company better will be appreciated.


Address Your Concerns Directly


Don’t be afraid to speak up, you owe it to yourself and your boss to be honest about how you feel. Although it may be easier to keep quiet or move on to the next opportunity, give your boss a chance to respond. If you approach them respectfully and with the intent of mending the relationship, you may be surprised to see it open a new level of trust and collaboration between you. And at the very least, you can tell yourself that you gave them the opportunity to change.


If All Else Fails, Prepare for Your Next Move


You’ve exhausted all your resources, and you’re content to move on to another company, so prepare yourself for this change. There’s nothing worse than escaping one toxic work environment and moving to an even worse one, so do your research: Meet your new co-workers for coffee and learn more about the work culture; ask questions about the team you may be joining and what sort of management practices are common. Whether you’re moving internally to another department or joining a new company entirely, it never hurts to be prepared.


Aileen Ormoc | Contributing Writer

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Have you ever questioned the fairness of your management practices? An obvious gauge of how you’re doing is your relationship with your staff and how often you’re the subject of HR interventions. But some bosses get away with unfairness without a word, often because employees are intimidated or fear for their jobs. For all those in a managerial role, here are some unfair practices that you need to identify and cease (listed in order of severity).


Illegal practices


That’s right, illegal practices – because discrimination, harassment and the denial of employees’ rights are against workplace fairness and equity legislation.


Have you ever limited, segregated, classified or deprived staff of opportunities “based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction”? Have you been directing any intentionally offensive and improper conduct toward an employee? Have you withheld from your workers any of their legal entitlements including a fair wage and public holiday pay?


If you’ve engaged in any of these unfair practices, you may have broken the law. You’ll be required to give an account when one of your employees takes union or legal action.


Unprofessional practices


A tier below criminally unfair managerial behaviours are those that are unprofessional and inappropriate. Managers can be unfair in the way that they display nepotism or favouritism. Getting along with some staff better than others is only natural, but a line is crossed when managers recruit, promote or give preference to less qualified employees based on the fact that they are related, have a personal friendship or share a common affinity.


Other inappropriate practices include taking credit for an employee’s work, unjustified exclusion from important projects or meetings, and denying well-deserved promotions or raises without explanation. Managers can also demoralize employees by publicly shaming or teasing them. All of these damaging behaviours can lead to staff lodging grievances to your organization.


Unhelpful practices


The third category of unfair behaviours includes those that are simply unhelpful and unpleasant. Each person has different personality traits and cultural influences, as well as insecurities, sensitivities and varying levels of social/emotional intelligence. People can rub each other the wrong way and have different ideas of what behaviour is acceptable in the workplace.


A manager can think that it’s okay, even motivating, to treat employees with excessive criticism, sarcasm, ostracism or (subtle) aggression. Other managers can unintentionally exhibit hostility or unreasonableness under the pressure of job stress or dramas in their personal life, though this isn’t an excuse. If you’ve knowingly or unknowingly treated your employees to these kinds of behaviours, cut it out, up your professional game and resolve to be a fairer manager.


J. Paik | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Human Resources

One of the responsibilities of managers and supervisors is to make sure that every employee follows company rules and regulations. A written reprimand is given to an employee who violates the policies and procedures or whose performance is below standards. It also serves as reference for any future reprimands. The following tips will help you understand when to use this measure and how to create a professional, yet effective letter. keep reading

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Blog, Human Resources

The comparison between business and sports isn’t new – a company is like a team; the manager is like the coach. The employees, or players, have their own roles (positions) in the overall game plan. Every time you close a deal or make a sale, it’s like a victory. Haven’t had many victories recently? Need a stronger and more efficient squad? Want to win the championship of business?
keep reading

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Blog, Human Resources

Big or small, a company is only as good as its employees. Knowing how to promote the right people is a crucial management skill. Good work should be rewarded by advancement on the company ladder, but it can often be difficult to decide who to promote when senior positions are limited or there’s a wealth of strong performers. Here are several key factors to focus on when looking for the right worker to elevate. keep reading

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Blog, Human Resources

Good workplace rules keep employees safe and the business running smoothly. Enforcing those rules is important both for employers and employees. Employees need to know, understand, and comply with company rules. It’s the employer’s responsibility to make sure all regulations are followed consistently. Every employee should be aware of the repercussions for breaching the rules. It could result in disciplinary measures like warnings, suspension, or termination. The following factors should be considered when implementing and enforcing workplace rules and regulations: keep reading

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