Will you reschedule our 1:1? I'm slammed today.
Sorry I haven't talked to you all week. I've been slammed.
I can't talk right now. I'm slammed. Can we chat tomorrow?
In the past few weeks I've heard leaders say all three of these phrases to an employee. It instantly sends the wrong message. The employee hears "I don't have time for you" and "What you're doing isn't as important as what I'm doing." Done once, this might not feel like a big deal. But when said repeatedly, it is.
Being slammed is not an excuse to not talk to your employees.
Millennials are feeling unattached to their coworkers, boss and company mission (source: Gallup). This is one reason why.
Most bosses don't think of themselves as leaders first. They're working managers. They work heads down, focused on the latest project, and they say "you know you can always come to me if you need anything." The paradox is that when they used being slammed as an excuse, the employee doesn't actually feel like they can stop by and ask for what they need. They wait for their boss to come out of the weeds and approach them.
And it rarely happens.
For 58% of millennials, quality of management is extremely important (source: Gallup). What are they looking for? Feedback. Development. Balance.
There's a gap between how most leaders manage and what millennials expect.
No one's coaching millennials on how to deal with that gap, and few leaders are emotionally intelligent enough to realize that they should first lead, then work, that it's more about the person, and how they feel, than it is about the task list.
Millennials want to understand their work beyond just a job description (source: Gallup), and every time their boss uses the excuse that they're too slammed to talk, a millennial loses faith that they're going to get that.
Leaders, think twice and put your team first. They matter more than your to do list.