A recent Rialto leadership development programme highlighted the difference between Millennial Leaders, Generation X and Baby Boomers. With the focus of the programme on business growth, we found our Millennial leaders offered great ideas, stepped forward to challenge the status quo and wanted their voices to be heard. However, others in the group found their approach to be disruptive at times, with a difference in listening and communication style cited as the main reason.
Millennials, of which the oldest are now in their mid-30s, are already occupying leadership positions. Future business success relies on the Millennial generation moving into senior management and key leadership positions over the next few years and steering their organisations to further success in an increasingly faster paced and AI-led world.
There is no escaping that the very different influences they have been exposed to, together with the growth of social media has shaped their attitudes. And this has led to marked differences between the generations that have gone before.
Moreover, they have grown up in a period of rapid technological development and accelerated transformation. In some cases, this has led to a restlessness and insecurity that in turn has made them eager to make an impact in far shorter timeframes than would normally be expected.
So how can the current generation of senior leaders manage and motivate those who will become their successors and ensure they see a long-term future at the organisation?
The Rialto leadership development approach encourages employers to be aware that it is extremely important for Millennials leaders to feel they are making a valuable contribution and developing ideas.
Bear in mind they have grown up in a world where products and services are constantly reviewed or rated. Whether it is a book they’ve purchased, music they’ve downloaded, a restaurant they have visited or an employer they’ve worked for, they are used to giving their opinions on it.
Future business success relies on the Millennial generation moving into senior management and key leadership positions over the next few years and steering their organisations to further success
It is therefore important to ensure they have a voice but obviously it needs to be balanced through collaboration with others in the workplace.
Another Millennial characteristic is a desire to be provided with ample opportunities for training and development and research shows that they believe business is most responsible for reskilling and upskilling workers to meet evolving and future challenges.
In our experience it is vital to provide development opportunities in a variety of ways. As well as formal leadership development programmes, Millennials also respond well to on-the-job and project-based opportunities mixed with personal coaching and mentoring.
Thanks to the large body of research that exists around the traits and characteristics of Millennials, Rialto has a large amount of insight into their motivations. We know, for instance, that they are also driven by the opportunity to contribute to society as a whole, not just an organisation. Hence, they are more likely to relish leadership positions that are linked to a higher purpose that goes beyond mere shareholder value. Goals could therefore be aligned with initiatives that are linked to corporate social responsibility and environmental issues, for instance.
Millennials are no different in wanting to work for organisations with a healthy corporate culture but they may be less tolerant to toxic ones and organisations whose culture reinforces company values such as integrity, trust, honesty and transparency are likely to be the preferred longer term employers.
Ensuring Millennial leaders are engaged does pose a challenge for organisations but by tapping into their mindset and delivering the right development programme, they will turn into extremely effective leaders for tomorrow.
To find out more about our development programmes and how we can help, call Rialto on 0203 043 8640.
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