Growing Millennials into the Next Generation of Leaders

November 12, 2015

We are engaging in the most multi-generational workforce ever. Statistics show us that Boomers are starting to retire and Gen X isn’t large enough to meet the leadership gap. This suggests Millennials (Gen Y) may have to step up to the plate earlier.

A recent survey of Millennials by Deloitte shows about half of the respondents already had management roles and more than 40 percent have four or more direct reports. Another study by EY shares that between 2008 and 2013, 87 percent of Gen Y managers had moved into that role, compared to only 38 percent of Gen X and 19 percent of Baby Boomers during that same timeframe.

Large companies that hire recent college grads have built up their programs to include many career tracks that a new professional can choose from. These programs are diverse and offer various ways for individuals to engage in the company and careers. Most include a leadership program and large portions of Millennials aspire to join these programs. According to another of Deloitte’s 2015 surveys, over half aspired to join the senior leadership team.  

This is all really promising news, but what does it mean for the definition of Leadership? Knowing what we do about the characteristics, approach and style of Millennials, this would suggest a redefinition of the term.  

What is valued? Some of the top traits, for leaders, that are said to be important to Millennials are different from other generations. It includes focus on “soft” concerns such as well-being and employee development. Gen Y prefers leaders with the ability to inspire and have vision, with decisiveness and passion. Few feel that true leaders need to focus solely on financial results.  

Considering the shift, business owners and leaders will need to adapt and refine their ways when it comes to building up these young professionals that will be taking over by the early 2020’s.  Changing the approach and habits now, will prepare you and your organization for a brighter and more sustainable future.

Contributed by Kym Hess, HR Business Partner, HR Collaborative, LLC.

View the on-demand webinar “Generations: Managing & Leading Across Generations” with Kym Hess.