How Millennials Can Become Great Leaders

How Millennials Can Become Great LeadersMillennials represent the future of leadership for many companies. However, even when organizations place value on leadership and succession planning, Gen Ys can still experience a skills gap as they ascend to management roles.

Millennials can prepare for leadership by understanding their strengths and weaknesses and mapping out a plan for personal development. And organizations can focus more on training and making a long-term commitment to the development of all millennial employees.

The week, I’ve been reading about steps millennials and their employers can take to prepare for new leadership roles.

How To Build Millennial Leaders: One Company’s Story. Forbes: “An organization in Florida is developing millennials into more mature and confident leaders, in a manner that might moisten the eyes of those hardened cynics who believe millennials are spoiled or soft. Hundreds of millennial students compete for the chance to do the dirty work of cleaning up Gainesville-area homes, through an organization called Student Maid. To qualify, they need 3.5 GPAs and must pass interviews and reference checks…all for the opportunity to scrub toilets, mop floors, wash windows and haul trash. They accept criticism and accountability. They happily accept pay that is tied to their performance. Their performance record is displayed in full view of their peers. And they are teaching each other, often for the first times, that it’s okay to fail.”

Developing Millennial Leaders. Keyline Company: “One of the biggest problems that we see with training leaders is the lack of long term commitment. A business wants to send their leaders to a few training events and hope for the best. Instead of developing a long term, continual plan, they invest a short period of time and hope for the best. In The Harford’s 2014 Millennial Leadership Survey [for which I served as a consultant], Millennials said employers can most demonstrate their investment in them as a future leader by offering training and development (50%), a clear career path (35%), and ongoing coaching and feedback (34%). It is important to make developing leaders a long term process. Consistency is key when it comes to training people in your organization.”

Millennial Leadership Changing the Management Game. CBN News: “‘It’s a strategic imperative to use Millennials as leaders in the workforce because of the skills they bring,’ Torrance said. Workplace culture and leadership development expert Steve Klein says this new office transition can be a smooth one as long as communication and respect are part of the relationship. ‘Those younger Millennials need to help those older employees understand what it’s like to work with them,’ Klein explained. ‘The Baby Boomers and Traditionalists need to understand that they need to let the Millennials and Gen Xers do their thing. Don’t worry about how they’re doing it. The bottom line, their productivity, is the most important.’”

Shaping Millennials the Right Way. People Matters Media: “There is a significant gap in terms of the skill set that millennials possess while entering the workforce. With laser sharp focus on growth, quarterly results and profitability, the need to have talent is becoming higher and bigger. Talent is a combination of work related skills, life/soft skills and other character traits. The current workforce coming into organizations needs input on all these fronts, most importantly on soft skills and that is where organizations are not prepared. Work skills and value alignment inputs prepare the young workforce well but they seem to struggle on overall effectiveness and productivity when it comes soft skills. These skills are business acumen basics, communication and presentation, writing skills, ability to lead self effectively, manage resources efficiently, business mannerisms and etiquettes, extrapolation skills, team working skills, problem solving abilities etc.”

How are millennials training for leadership roles within your organization? I’d love to know — please share in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is a New York Times best-selling author and a nationally recognized millennial expert who helps employers recruit, train, manage and market to the millennial generation. Her speeches and training sessions inspire multigenerational collaboration and foster lasting organizational success. Contact Lindsey to learn how she can help your organization understand and connect with millennials.

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