What Millennials Need in a Leader

Article Summary

Source: What Millennials Need in a Leader
Author: Margy Kerr-Jarrett


It seems that each generation has its gifts and abilities that add value to the corporate world, philanthropy, communities and the good of society. Baby Boomers have an incredibly strong work ethic, are conservative and not excessive and are rewarded with recognition from a hierarchy of leadership.  Generation X is incredibly self-reliant, balances life with several different jobs, and works hard in order to eliminate work tasks to then enjoy life.

But the age groups of twenty to early thirty year-old which make up millennials are even more different than any previous generation. Therefore, understanding how millennials think, function and are driven will help leaders of other generations pull out the best qualities of this new wave of workers and raise up the greatest generation of leaders ever before seen.

In her article, What Millennials Need in a Leader, author Margy Kerr-Jarrett explains five areas that leaders can better understand millennials in order to build upon the new generation’s strengths, helping them to become future leaders. These five areas include the following:

Team –Oriented. The first to understand is that millennials are team-oriented with no strong sense for authority. So where a strong, authoritative hierarchy would work in generations past, the best way to inspire millennials is camaraderie and a personal relationship built on trust. This instills confidence in them and empowers them to problem solve in creative and new approaches never before seen.

Freedom within Structure.  While millennials need lots of freedom to experiment on decisions, they need the clear structure, goals and objectives to define the boundaries. It is easy for them to become distracted as they are constantly inundated with information and technology. Defining clear targets with regular reassurances and encouragement will put them on the fast track to excellence.

Give them vision.  See and relate to them as if they are already future leaders. Giving feedback and investing time such as one-on-one face time is crucial, since millennials are not always proficient at expressing themselves. As the author describes, they are tainted from email, texting and social media so that their fluency in personal expression and interaction is one quality that is often lacking.

Stick to Decisions.  Great ideas, energy and passion are excellent qualities millennials bring to the table. But with so many options that are often now available it makes concrete, cut-and-dry decisions very difficult for them to make.  But even more so is then second-guessing those decisions afterward. Great leadership will need to guide then reassure their decisions. It may take time in the beginning, but with that investment they will grow into excellent and confident leaders.

Instill Confidence. While this generation comes across as confident and creative, the author explains that they may be perhaps the most self-critical, apprehensive and unconfident generation to this point. Confidence is what they admire about previous generations.  Instilling confidence, assurance and clarity of purpose will activate millennials’ potential for one of the greatest generations of leaders to date.

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