It is only off late with so much brouhaha about ‘The Great Resignation’ that I started educating myself more and more on leadership, team building and talent development and management across organisations and workplaces, and in this process of research, I came across quite a fascinating term- ‘Millennial Leadership’. At first, nothing made sense to me, and it is only when I started delving deeper into the topic that I could understand a few bits of it. At this moment also, I cannot say that I know everything about it because I feel that the topic itself is so expansive that one cannot understand it in its entirety at once and it is only through continuous introspection, questioning, application, and implementation of the concept that one can get closer to the actual meaning of ‘Millennial Leadership’.
I will not waste any time in explaining who millennials are, how we define them, and how they are categorised or placed in the generations’ framework. The topic of importance here is ‘how and why millennials reflect the capability to lead and innovate organisations and workplaces.
Most of the millennials today are aware, agile, curious, intuitive, and reflective. Seems commonplace, right?
Well, it’s not, if we think of how millennials today are not just working but also creating opportunities for work or at work. Few of the world’s most known start-ups are being run by the so-called millennials. Not just this, millennials are taking more and more proactive initiatives to lead across organisations, and we are seeing leading them right from the front.
Through my fair understanding of the concept, here are the top five reasons why millennials today are proving to be great leaders and visionaries.
- They chart their career trajectories. They have plans. They are not clueless and stuck in the rut like they are a part of some ‘rat-race’.
When millennials enter a workplace today, they enter with a purpose. This purpose is backed by robust research and plans that they have made or done on how they would like to facilitate growth in their respective careers. They consider their careers as existing in ‘solitude’ and hence, avoid comparisons. They do not get blinded by what others around them are doing, how much money they are making and how they are climbing up the ladder. Rather, they spend energy on ‘how they can end up reaching’ where ‘they want to reach’. In short, they follow their gut and don’t follow the rut. ‘Rat-race’ doesn’t appeal to them, and they like to move and thrive at their own pace.
- They don’t seek managers. They seek mentors.
When you already have a purpose, all you need is direction. You want to know ‘what needs to be done but ‘not how it needs to be done. You don’t need management, but sheer guidance and support. This is exactly what millennials seek today.
- They believe to learn from anywhere and not just ‘books’.
Millennials believe that learning can happen from anywhere, and not just books. It doesn’t mean understating the importance of books but rather complementing and doubling the knowledge acquired from books with the help of so many other tools and platforms available for free, at disposal. These include YouTube tutorials, podcasts, audio notes, and e-learning material and resources.
- Millennials like to continue upgrading their arsenal of skills and knowledge. They don’t just want to know ‘a’ thing but ‘most’ things.
Millennials are curious and are driven by the desire to know most things. They like to be a jack of all trades and in pursuit of their interests, they develop a holistic understanding of how different things work differently. Thus, they don’t like to keep moving in just one direction but are more than flexible to don various hats and roles and pick up a multitude of new skills in their endeavors.
- They don’t like to pull down but pull up and help each other.
Millennials are competitive, that’s true but they know how a healthy competition works. It works in a way where everyone thrives, and everyone has it sorted. They like to pull each other up and compete in a way where they are pushed hard enough to do better and new each day.
With so much passion and fire in their belly, millennials and their leadership today do deserve a fair chance to be encouraged and promoted across organisations and workplaces. It’s heartening to see that a lot of leaders across sectors and industries have already initiated programmes like ‘Reverse Mentorship’, ‘Forward Thinking’ & ‘Millennial Boards’ to have millennials on board and give them the responsibilities to solve the complex business and organisational problems and challenges. With every little step in this direction, we could bring a big positive and refreshing change in organisational cultures.
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