How do we lead…?: Millennials


Summary:

  • Millennials want transparent leaders

  • Millennials need clear expectations and guidelines

Research tells us that we may soon experience a leadership conundrum. For a variety of reasons, many millennials are reluctant to take on leadership duties. I have some thoughts on why (and I’m sure I will share those eventually) but, ultimately, this will impact organizational structure and corporate culture. While some Gen-X members may fear being “skipped” over, they may be putting into leadership positions solely because there is a lack of interested leaders behind them. Granted, I’m generalizing, but you get the point.

Despite their disinterest in leadership positions, millennials still hold leaders in high regard and have very specific, and high, expectations of what a leader should do and how they should lead. As I consider leading millennials, I want to make sure that I clearly articulate what it is I want the follower to do and achieve. Basically, give a clear indication of expectations.

Also, millennials want to know how they will be assessed. They want to know: a) that they have done what they needed to do correctly (for Liassez-faire leaders this can be difficult) and; b) they want to know how their products will be analyzed and ‘graded’. To put it mildly, in my university classes students cannot complete even a 20-point assignment without a rubric. They need directives and clear expectations.

Millennials also want to follow transparent leaders. They want honest and trustworthy leaders. But, here’s my issue. Transparency to what extent and at what level. This will be the difficulty for those leading millennials. How much do you share and when? I think it boils down to being consistent and following through with what you said you were going to do and, when appropriate, explaining mistakes.

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