As originally posted in Millennial Money Guide.
It’s no secret that Millennials are one of the largest generations in history, and make up over 33% of the workforce. Though this age group consists of some of the most technologically-savvy in history, it often makes headlines for the less-than-desirable stereotypes, such as job-hopping, and requiring constant feedback. But, as with all stereotypes, those are exceptions and not the norm.
Millennials are, however, evolving into one of the largest group of leaders in the history, filling management positions before many Gen Xer’s ever dreamed of holding them. And it hasn’t happened by accident: Millennials in the workforce have put in substantial time and effort to be recognized as the Emerging Leaders in today’s workforce. These individuals possess some key qualities that set them apart from their peers, and their predecessors have no qualms passing the baton to them.
Let’s explore some of those qualities:
1. They are Strategic
- Millennial leaders understand that in order to solve problems, they need to plan ahead. They realize that the problem won’t be solved effectively if they strike fast and look for an easy solution. They study the problem and determine the desired result, creating a plan and timeline before any execution takes place. Millennial leaders are efficient, productive, concise, and prioritize the steps to their projects.
2. They Value Great Training
- As leaders, Millennials understand that their most important role as a manager of people is to provide effective training. They understand their subordinates and get to know them as individuals – deciphering their motivations, inspirations, and how they like to be rewarded. They encourage questions, and work to develop both group and individual skills. They work to develop relationships, and don’t rely on digital communication for feedback. They take the feedback and create clear, actionable goals to be followed up on and monitored regularly.
3. They Recognize Different Perspectives
- Millennial leaders are self-aware and recognize that unconscious bias plays a role in many decisions, so purposefully work to avoid it. They choose to hire talent that is different from them, so that a variety of perspectives will be apparent in the finished product. They communicate with their team often and effectively, creating clear expectations and transparency. They often hold kickoff meetings, status updates, and debriefing meetings, and listen carefully to the differing perspectives of their team. Decisions are based on sound knowledge, not gut reactions.
4. They Value a Work/Life Balance
- One of the proven necessities of an effective leader is the ability to have down time to recharge and refresh. This prevents burnout and leaves the Millennial leader with the necessary balance in order to have an optimal quality of life. Never underestimate the importance of unplugging and enjoying family, hobbies, exercise, or just plain silence. With the prior planning and delegation of duties, work is left running like a well-oiled machine.
5. They are Adaptable
- A sure sign of high emotional intelligence is adaptability, so it is no surprise that the Millennial leader excels in this category. After all, he or she grew up in an era of constantly evolving technology and challenges to every norm that Baby Boomers and Generation Xer’s became accustomed to! This leads to added efficiency, since the company won’t crumble and fall into pure chaos just because something unexpected occurred in one department. The Millennial leader is nimble and thinks on his or her feet, coming up with an innovative solution to the problem, and spurring a culture challenging any status quo that ever existed!
Despite the myths and stereotypes associated with Millennials, these tech-savvy leaders possess a hunger for success, strong resilience, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to be agile in an ever-changing and complex society. They believe in true relationships and connecting with their colleagues on a personal level. They expect no less from their employers. They look for companies with a clear purpose and vision, and have a strong appreciation for a company prioritizing its employees and the customer experience over profits. Perhaps all generations could learn a little more from this special group in the workforce.
by Natalie Lemons
Natalie Lemons is the Founder and President of Resilience Group, LLC, and The Resilient Recruiter and C0-Founder of Need a New Gig. She specializes in the area of Executive Search and services a diverse group of national and international companies, focusing on mid to upper-level management searches in a variety of industries. For more articles like this, follow her blog. Resilient Recruiter is an Amazon Associate.
Want to Improve Your Interview Skills?
Our FREE Behavioral Interview Guide contains over 24 pages of specific questions to ask, categorized by the skill you are probing for. Download your guide today!