Are Millennials Changing How We See Leadership?
By Alan Olsen
Within just a few years from now, Millennials will actually become the largest employee demographic in the workforce. That means ready or not, Millennials are coming to an office near you. It also means they will soon be taking on more leadership roles. In fact, they have already started. But with thousands of baby boomers getting closer to retirement age, more Millennials than ever will be stepping into leadership positions. So, what kind of leadership can we expect to see?
Leadership Changes Are Coming
There will likely be changes. Make no mistake. Millennials see leadership differently than their predecessors, just as they see many other things differently. Although authoritarian leadership has been moving more towards extinction for some time, it will have no place under the Millennial leadership regime. Leadership trends have been shifting toward a more inclusive brand of leadership over the past several years. Leaders who direct, instead of demand, are much more commonplace. In fact, the word leader has actually replaced the word boss in many settings.
Everyone Is Equal and Equally Involved
When it comes to leadership being more inclusive, Millennials definitely want everyone involved. They seek for and enable direct communication and connections with leadership teams. That includes everyone from their reporting managers all the way up to top level executives. Accessibility is huge for Millennial leaders, no matter what title a person holds. The reason for this is that it builds more loyalty and trust.That helps breeds more dedication and happier employees.
Collaboration Will Also Be Common
You can expect more collaboration with Millennial leaders, which goes hand-in-hand with inclusivity. Millennials like to get everyone involved and have everyone voice their opinions. They value contributions from everyone and want all voices to heard. That means they collaborate with everyone, as well, before making decisions. Doing this allows each employee to give input and make a difference in the company’s overall success. It also builds trust and leads to future collaboration and success.
Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders
Whether you’re ready for Millennials to start taking over more leadership positions, or not, the fact is, the time is coming. That means now is also the time to start teaching and training them. Millennials are anxious to learn as much as they can. It’s important to recognize and take advantage of every teaching moment you get. You must gain their trust and you must provide a sense of transparency in order to earn that trust. At the same time, Millennials like their independence, so it’s vital to find the proper balance between teaching them and allowing for independent thought.
They Learn By Doing
Lastly, remember that Millennials, like most of us, will learn by doing. So you need to give them opportunities to lead now. You can start with small things and allow them to build their confidence. Then, gradually add greater leadership opportunities. But regardless of the methods you use, building the leaders of the future should start now.