The time has come. Millennials are officially adults, sitting in the 21–36 age range. They’re establishing families and careers, and they’re entering leadership roles. To the surprise of baby boomers and Gen X, these tech-savvy goofballs could soon be their bosses, if they aren’t already. The eldest half of the millennial generation have about a decade of work experience and are already building their leadership experience, so there’s no better time to talk about effective communication for this new generation of leaders. After all, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, according to a report from BPW Foundation.
Millennial leadership is already happening, and it’s only going to expand. There simply aren’t enough Xers to fill the roles that boomers are vacating, so either roles will shift in the workplace or, more likely, millennials will fill the holes that boomers are leaving behind. As of 2016, 12 percent of millennials are department heads and 7 percent are on a senior management team, but the majority of millennials still don’t feel like their leadership skills are being developed, according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016. These leaders have their own brand of managing, which means a whole new set of communication issues. My organization, BridgeWorks, has compiled a list of millennial leader traits and values that can help millennials and non-millennials understand where leadership trends are heading.
Traits of millennial leaders
- Collaborative—democratic in decision making.
- Tech-savvy—organize and lead via technological platforms.
- Socially accepting—strongly value diversity and inclusion.
- Disruptive—seek and reward constant change.
Values of millennial leaders
- Customization—eager to individualize their approach.
- Authenticity—have a tendency to be too informal.
- Speed—prefer to work and lead fast, for better or worse.
- Flexibility—motivated to give flexibility, but may find it’s harder to manage than previously thought.