The reality of tomorrow’s workplace is that within a very short time, millennials will be ensconced in all the significant leadership posts in the world, from corporations to organizations to government.
The question arises as to what kind of leaders they will be.
The likely answer is that they will be good and effective leaders, but they will do it differently from the baby boomer generation they are replacing.
Millennials want to be leaders, but on their terms. They need to see a purpose in what they are doing and they will be more conscious than previous generations of the impact of their leadership decisions will make on the greater community and the world.
These character traits emerged from a global study that saw 16,000 millennials in 43 countries interviewed by researchers with INSEAD Emerging Markets Institute (EMI), the HEAD Foundation and Universum.
It illustrated that even though millennials have an interest in leading their companies and organizations, 82% of them prefer a work-life balance over a promotion. What that translates to is leadership, but on different terms.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tomorrow’s leader is going to have to hold the helm through full-scale change across all industries, and he or she will need a new approach.
The personality traits of the tech-savvy millennial with their tendency to enjoy working in flatter organizations, fostering smooth-operating teams, and focusing on projects as well as industry sustainability, will serve them well.
By their nature, they are more prepared to share intellectual capital within their organization for the betterment of the whole group. They have taken networking to a skillset unknown by any previous generation, thanks to technology, and they are not too proud to ask for assistance.
The bold, lone wolf leader who, while vital in his day, will have to give way to the conciliatory, focused leader in the future, and the millennial is well-suited to step into that role.
For the millennial, the most valued workplace skill is adaptability, and for the future leader, that same skill will be of paramount importance. As the dawn of a new industrial age opens, the leader who can calmly accept and adapt to technological change will be a tremendous asset to any organization. The millennial leader, coming from the most technologically connected era in history, will find it easier to respond to this challenge.
What strategies can companies expect to see from their millennial leaders?
It is likely that most problems will be looked at differently. The millennial leader doesn’t have to look outside the box, as baby boomers were urged to do. They don’t even know what the box is. So they will look to technology mixed with human connections as tools to solve major issues.
They will be more transparent about their strategy then their predecessors. Used to thriving within teams since their day care days, they will build strong teams around them and move as one to solve issues, being more respectful to the input of others as opposed to believing they have to find all the answers themselves.
Finally, they will seek sustainable solutions. Although millennials told PEW researchers that they don’t consider themselves environmentalists, they also said they cared about the environment. It may just be the labels they dislike. Most millennials want their business decisions to be done with small footprints, disturbing people and the land as little as possible.