Millennials often are profiled as employees with no work ethic , a high sense of entitlement, even as being delusional about what it takes to be successful.
But this interview with a young sales manager at a large company should give companies hope that perhaps it’s not age dictating results – it’s simply the person you hired.
Question: How did you get started?
Answer: I started out as in intern and worked my way up. At age 25, I became a manager and now have a team of 26 people. Our financial results have been at the top of the company, with over 60 comparable branches.
Q: What has made you successful?
A: Early on, I found a producer that served as my informal mentor. I’ve seen a lot of situations in offices where salespeople and leaders get caught up in politics. They say what others want to hear. This producer was extremely honest and to the point. He didn’t sugarcoat things. People respect that approach, even though it may turn a few people off. My mentor also took action on a problem rather than stress and hide behind emails.
Q: As a fairly young manager, what is some knowledge that you wished you would have gained earlier in your leadership role?
A: I’ve been in this leadership role for two years, and one thing I’ve learned is to gain perspective. It’s important to talk to two or three people to get different perspectives on the same issue. It helps me better solve problems.
Q: What advice do you give to young interns and team members?
A: A lot of other interns have a tendency to embrace that techie environment where it’s all about work/life balance. I tell the interns that I wear a suit to work, show up first and leave last.
Be patient. That means starting at the bottom, and doing the grunt work and processing. It’s going to suck, it’s going to hurt a little bit; keep plugging away. Also, be patient with your peers. If you lose your patience with someone, you’re going to lose their respect.
It was refreshing to interview this young man. And it reinforced an old adage: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Meaning, don’t buy the stereotypes, whether you’re talking about millennials, baby boomers, people from other nations and of other religions, etc. You’re going to find good and bad in any group of people. And if you’re an employer, give millennials the chance to prove themselves.