Confessions of an Intern - what Millennials want in a manager

I've been interning with Petra at ImpaCCCt for nearly two months now. And wowee, Terry - have I learnt a lot: From meeting some pretty inspirational and high profile guest speakers to learning the ins and outs of social media - the experience has been nothing short of amazing.

Although I've grown a lot in this short time, we've hit a few roadblocks along the way. Specifically, I've been writing some blogs and social media copy, targeted towards senior executives and professionals. Believing that a Marketer should be able to cater to any audience, I took on this challenge the best I could - with a semi-manufactured false sense of confidence.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm a massive fan of the 'fake it 'til you make it' mantra.

Especially given my 22-year-old, yet-to-even-graduate, intern status, where I'm just trying my best to disguise looks of confusion with a face deep in concentration.

But the problem?

A lack of knowledge becomes a little more transparent when you're marketing to experts. So we had to change our approach.

Realising that there was a bit of a disconnect, Petra said, 'Well, why don't you write something that you know about?' Yep, that makes a lot more sense; if only my concentration face allowed me to focus on the obvious.

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But what could little old me possibly contribute to senior executives? Then it hit me - maybe it wasn't who I was writing to, rather what I was writing about.

Inspired by Petra's mentorship over the past couple of months, I thought of one thing I can genuinely provide - perspective on what I want in a leader.

Although I can't speak for my entire generational cohort, let my love for smashed avo and soy lattes precede me. So with that, here are a few things this millennial wants in a manager.

 

1. Tell me I'm pretty!

Some stereotypes hold true;

We are victims of a generation that got rewarded for showing up.

However, this in no way, shape or form means we are lazy or unaccustomed to hard work. It just means we appreciate a slightly different approach to feedback.

By all means, tell us what we're doing wrong and how we can improve. Just remember to give us an adequate amount of genuine praise when we do something right. A careful balance of positive and constructive feedback means we will be that much more responsive when we are being complemented, knowing you are being completely honest with us.

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2. Let me pick your brain.

As an experienced professional, you know what we want to know before we even know what we want to know...you know?

Us millennials don't want the traditional leader, but someone who's going to act as a mentor. Share your stories with us - tell us your successes, your biggest failure, anything you'd change in your career.

I mean, forget the smashed avo, if cafes served this sort of perspective the housing boom would be the least of my worries.

3. Sit in the passenger seat.

Most of us still have our L-plates on.

But please don't be that driver instructor who gasps in fear and grips onto the door handle for dear life every time we turn a corner. Trust us and challenge us to work out some problems for ourselves, while being there in case we forget the occasional road rule or start driving on the wrong side of the road.

We love the comfort of knowing you're there, but if you give us the chance to rise to the occasion – we usually will.

 

4. Listen.

This one is simple but often overlooked.

Being new to the workforce (and office environment in general) means us millennials have concerns you probably don't think twice about.

I mean, how do I introduce myself to the CEO when they come to visit next week? Can I take a bathroom break before lunch without looking like a lazy time-waster?

Putting these somewhat dramatic concerns aside, we also want you to listen to our ideas and thoughts. We want you to be someone we can come to and have an open discussion with if we have a problem. If you make us feel important and engaged, we are going to reward you with nothing but respect and hard work.

is a driven, 22-year old up and coming marketer, in his final year of studies with big aspirations to make his mark in the digital world. Whilst many other soon-to-be-graduates still often wait for opportunities to come to them, Campbell hasn't only put up his hand for one internship with me at impaCCCt but for two and is also digital content interns at Cover-More Travel Insurance; all besides full-time studies and a part-time retail job. And whilst it is extremely rewarding to hear that he has been able to learn a lot from my experience and guidance so far, it is even more rewarding for me to see what makes the young generation tick and gives me insights as to what I need to improve in my own skills to stay relevant in this fast paced world.

Connect with Campbell on LinkedIn and let us know your thoughts!

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