How to Give Corrective Feedback to a Baby Boomer, when you are the Millenial Boss? Yes, a much younger person trying to lecture to an experienced one?
I’m talking to my dad, professional speaker Larry Johnson. He is a co-author of the best-selling an absolutely fabulous book ‘Absolute Honesty’.
When a Millennial Is Your Boss
Recently I had a Millennial audience member ask me about how to best give an honest feedback to somebody she was managing. Somebody much older. Old enough to be her dad. She felt a little awkward giving the corrective feedback.
I thought I’d asked my dad, who is also a baby boomer and a co-author of the best-selling book ‘Generations Inc’.
Giving Negative Feedback to Baby Boomers
“How best should this millennial give honest feedback to this person she’s managing?” And I think we’re safe to assume that it’s a corrective feedback. It’s not a compliment but rather that she wants the person to change their behavior.
I think it kind of depends on where the other person perceives this younger person’s area of expertise.
In other words, the baby boomer may question what right does this person have to tell me how I should do anything? I know as a baby boomer, I really appreciate the younger person who coaches me on how to better use my software, how to use my computer, or how to use social media.
Baby Boomers Working with Millennials
We get into some tricky territory when the younger manager is going to coach me about something I think I know everything about.
It’s very important that you preface whatever you’re going to say to this person with some acknowledgment of her experience.
Say: “I know you’ve got a lot of experience in this area of dealing with customers who are upset. However, I’m concerned. When you said to the customer ‘don’t worry your pretty little head’, it could have been considered offensive.”
The Millennial that’s giving the feedback needs to voice that it is not appropriate. It could almost be interpreted as sexual harassment. It could be considered offensive.
How to Give Corrective Feedback
I would say in that case that you pose it in terms of how it might be experienced by the customer or even by the Millennials.
Describe the effect of what he’s doing okay and maybe make a suggestion on how he might approach it differently.