Do You Have to Ask?

askThis is a complaint about Millennials I’ve heard a number of times from frustrated senior members of a company: They have to ask.

Part of the frustration comes from the fact that a lot of the Millennials’ questions seem foolish to the veterans. But the fact is that anyone starting a new job—possibly their first “real” job—is going to have questions.

But not all questions are equal. There are some Millennials that quickly show through their questions that they’re looking for a babysitter, not a boss.

Here’s how to tell the difference.

Questions that show potential:

  • Do you have a preference in how this task is done?
  • Am I going to receive training on this software, or should I write down my questions as I go?
  • What is my deadline?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • Are there any back burner projects I can work on when I’m in between tasks?

These questions demonstrate that the millennial is looking to work within the patterns of work that you’ve set up, rather than demanding that everyone accommodate them as a new employee.

Questions that show immaturity:

  • What’s next?
  • How long am I allowed to take for lunch?
  • I’m done with what you asked me to do—should I head out now?
  • Can you show me how to do this?
  • I have nothing to do.

While not all of these questions are a problem in and of themselves, when a Millennial demonstrates that they need someone to tell them what to do and exactly how to do it every time they move to a new task, that’s a bad sign. It shows lack of initiative, lack of ability to think about the bigger picture, rather than their one small assignment.

Yes, bringing in Millennials can be a challenge, but listen to what they’re asking before you get fed up—are they asking for a babysitter or a boss? Listen carefully, and you just may hear the potential behind their flood of questions.

*Image courtesy photosteve101

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