Millennials as Future Leaders? Hmm … Good Question
Transparency note: This post is written by a Boomer and a father of two Millennials.
What will the future leaders of our companies and our country look like when the 70+ million Millennials come of age in the next several years? (Millennials being those born between 1981 and 1995 – the so-called “20 somethings.”)
This is a group whose childhoods were completely organized for them, from play dates to after-school activities. Raised to work in teams, they were rewarded for just showing up.
For Millennials, success is not about status and external factors but about internal factors such as relationships, happiness, doing good deeds and family. According to a poll by Twentysomething, Inc., 85% move back in with their parents after college. They are marrying later. They go through an average of seven jobs in their twenties (I’m still working on my second). They are not typically long-term planners.
Millennials are a generation of big thinkers, less doers. Richard Florida, an American urban studies theorist and author of the best-seller The Rise of the Creative Class, coined Millennials the “creative class” – a group whose common values are creativity, individuality, difference and merit. Florida says this generation will direct change in the way cities and companies will grow.
For Millennials, loyalty to employers, brands or political parties is not based on traditional satisfaction or value models. Millennials are loyal to relationships that are built on emotional connections and what the employer, brand or political party has done for them lately. Tenure is not a justification for leadership. Co-founder of Brazen Careerist, Ryan Healy, talks about how Millennials will change the workplace we Boomers know with things like shorter workweeks, promotions based on emotional intelligence and redefined retirement.
So back to the question of what will Millennial leaders be like? I suspect they will be the “doers” within this creative class. Just look at Zuckerberg. He didn’t come up with the idea of Facebook, but he executed the idea.
Millennial leaders may be the ones who can stay focused in the midst of chaos, with a management style of trial and error replacing thoroughly researched, step-by-step approaches. The top will be reached by those who can run the maze the fastest rather than those who can climb the ladder the fastest.
Are we looking at a paradigm shift in the making?