What employees expect of a boss

To be a leader, lead by example, inspire… The expectations of today’s young workers about their boss are different from those of more experienced workers. This change in mentality is especially seen in the role of manager.

“If you don’t listen, you can leave. This is the type of speech that employees accepted 20 or 25 years ago, when the manager embodied authority. Today, the manager has no choice but to do his work differently if he wants to keep his employees,” says Sylvain Tétreault, co-founder of the consulting firm Blackburn Tétreault & Associés. “A high performing employee is a happy employee.” 

Sylvain Tétreault trains managers to help them improve their performance. He believes that the new generation of workers seeks first of all an inspiring leader, who knows how to get them ahead by guiding them. “However, many managers are still trained in the old authoritarian model,” says the trainer.  In his view, every boss has to develop three skills: knowledge, expertise and self-management. “Self-management is the ability to adapt to situations and individuals,” Sylvain Tétreault explains. “It is especially this aspect that new bosses have to work on, because they often come from the field and have not received training as a manager.”

Young workers also want their boss to be sympathetic, and not expect their employees to sacrifice their personal lives to work. Sylvain Tétreault believes that managers benefit from promoting flexible work hours and remote working, since the latitude and autonomy given to the employees will make them happier. “I have seen the development of mentalities,” says Sylvain Tétreault, who has taught at the École de technologie supérieure for 21 years. “Young people are seeking a good relationship with their superior; they want to be involved in the success of their company. Leaders who come from another generation have a hard time understanding them.” 


A guide to help them grow

More than the preceding generations, workers of the new generation want their boss to help them develop their skills and give them more feedback. According to a study undertaken in 2014 by SuccessFactors and Oxford Economics, most millennials want to receive feedback at least once a month, or more frequently than older employees. 46% of them think that they do not receive enough constructive feedback from their boss.

According to Sylvain Tétreault, only 20% of employees don’t need supervision to develop well. The other 80% need to be “listened to, loved, disciplined, guided, oriented. They want an environment conducive to achieving their goals, which have never been as high as now.” To achieve this, positive and constructive relationships must be woven, which requires an investment of considerable time by the boss.

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