The millennial generation has received a lot of flak from the media for being overconfident, difficult to manage, and even demanding. Unfortunately, many of these stories greatly exaggerate the stereotype, which is perhaps good news for business leaders, since this generation will comprise three-quarters of the workforce by 2025. However, some millennials are already assuming leadership positions and doing great things at the helm of various teams and even entire businesses. In fact, this generation often takes a unique approach to leadership that can provide important lessons to business leaders of all ages. Some of the unique qualities that make millennials great leaders include:
As compared with other generations, millennials tend to focus more on the future. These individuals have a unique understanding of what will become the next big thing, and they push the boundaries to deliver it first. As innovators, millennials tend to inspire other employees to achieve great things by keeping them abreast of what is happening now and what is in the pipeline. Millennials by and large believe that innovation is something that is learned rather than something intrinsic to the individual. Thus, millennial leaders focus on developing strategic plans for innovation rather than lying back and waiting for inspiration to strike.
Millennials tend to concentrate on the long-term impact of a company. Rather than being driven by profits, millennials think about how what they are doing will ultimately impact the world. When individuals have a clear understanding of how their work will improve the world, they become more motivated to achieve great things. For this reason, millennials stand out as inspirational leaders who are able to motivate the people around them and maximize organizations’ impact. Their vision often results in a customer base this is happy and loyal.
Committed to equality
Companies have historically been driven by hierarchies, with the executives making the majority of the decisions. Unfortunately, this approach often means that the voices of other employees go unheard. While millennials are not necessarily challenging the traditional power hierarchy, they are much more devoted to ensuring that everyone gets a voice. Millennials tend to take everyone’s perspective into consideration because they know that innovation and inspiration often come from unexpected places. The millennial generation is driven to investigate and question rather than blindly make decision or accept orders. As a result, several issues and ideas can emerge that ultimately make an organization more resilient. Communication and collaboration thrive under millennial leadership.
Since millennials have grown up in a tech-driven culture, they are accustomed to fast evolution and quick change. As a result, they have become extremely adaptable, which is an important trait for leaders. The unexpected can occur at any time in the workplace, and leaders need the ability to roll with the punches and change game plans on the go. Millennials quickly step up in these circumstances and figure out new solutions. Their adaptability tends to set a great example for other employees and helps to create a culture that does not simply rely on the status quo. When all members of an organization become comfortable with change, innovation begins to occur.
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology around them constantly. Therefore, these individuals have a unique perspective on how technology can streamline processes to make an organization more efficient. According to a recent survey, more than half of millennials would rather lose their sense of smell than their digital devices. Millennials keep their finger on the pulse of technological development, which is critical for success in today’s increasingly competitive market. Often, organizations that embrace technology have a clear advantage over competitors who do not. A millennial leader helps to make technology a natural part of the company culture.
The media has painted millennials as job hoppers who do not fully engage with their employers. On the contrary, these individuals came of age during a difficult time and are largely grateful for the work that they have. Nearly half of millennials in leadership positions say that they plan to stay with their organization for over 15 years, in contrast with 29 percent of older leaders who expect to stay for that length of time. At the same time, millennials are hungry for growth opportunities and expect them. Millennials in leadership positions need to be able to grow and expand, and they will subsequently offer the same opportunities to other employees to enhance overall company loyalty.
Focused on transparency
When leaders do not have complete transparency with the rest of a company, a toxic environment can quickly result. Millennials understand the importance of transparency and encourage frequent communication that is open and honest. Transparency leads to accountability, which ultimately translates to a better company, with employees who know exactly where they excel and where they need to improve, including the leaders. Millennials invite constructive feedback about their own performance, as much as they are willing to offer it to others.