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Teach Generation Xers to Micromanage Themselves

March 1, 1998
Related Topics: Motivating Employees, Featured Article
Generation Xers, those employees born roughly between 1965 and 1981, are often challenged by carrying out tasks independently. This positive attribute is what makes this generation the most entrepreneurial generation in history, according to Bruce Tulgan, founder of New Haven, Connecticut-based Rainmaker Inc., a think tank that researches the working lives of Generation Xers. So how should a manager calibrate the delegation of responsibility to a relatively young member of the corporate team? Here are six useful tips:

1) Stick to the principle that all work should be divided into clearly delineated tangible results, with each result assigned to an owner, and each owner assigned 100 percent responsibility.

2) With new employees who haven’t yet earned much responsibility, assign 100 percent ownership for tangible results that are smaller in scope. Let them use these smaller results as proving ground to earn ownership of larger results.

3) Attach a concrete deadline to every tangible result, regardless of scope.

4) Spell out any parameters, guidelines or specifications at the time results and deadlines are assigned.

5) With larger results, require result owners to make and submit a plan of action, including intermediate goals and deadlines, as well as the concrete actions necessary to achieve each intermediate goal.

6) Encourage result owners to monitor change and be prepared to adjust goals and fine-tune their plans.

Workforce, March 1998, Vol. 77, No. 3, p. 23.

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