How Millennials are Changing Workplace Leadership

 How Millennials are Changing Workplace Leadership
By Stephen Wright

Millennials are now fully immersed in the workforce, and they bring with them new attitudes regarding corporate culture and methods of management. Typically, they focus less on hierarchy and are more interested in a collaborative, innovative atmosphere. This shift in ideology stems from many factors, including their education, parenting, and even a changing economy.

Many talking heads refer to Millennials as a force to reckon with and posit that we must turn our workplace upside down to satisfy them, but we need to take a step back. While it’s true Millennials do bring several new, unique cultural challenges, in the end little has changed. The best candidates of the millennial generation will work hard to achieve excellence while simultaneously helping to reshape and influence their workplace for the better.

For those business leaders who aim to recruit more Millennials without doing a complete 180 within their company, here are four key factors to consider:

  • Soft skills are just as important as technical skills
    Some might think that there is a lack of appreciation of a person’s soft skill base, but the next generation places importance on coworkers’ and managers’ emotional intelligence. Millennials highly value empathy. They’re interested in training and learning how to be the best leader they can be, and basic emotional and social literacy are often prized as characteristics of leaders they wish to emulate.
  • They want to be autonomous and empower others to do the same.
    Leadership for Millennials is often more about guiding, rather than demanding. There’s an emphasis not only on outside training sponsored by their employer, but also a push for more self-taught learning. Nearly every industry has free online courses and websites that can be used as material for improving essential professional skills. Millennials are eager to take advantage of these resources in order to improve their core competencies.
  • Diversity is important.
    Diversity in terms of race, social standing, and education has become a primary issue for Millennials in the workplace. Not only is the population itself becoming more diverse, but also studies have proven that diversification in the workplace “can drive innovation.” If a business doesn’t yet meet their diversity standards, implements a recruitment policy that will encourage an environment that is inclusive and forward thinking.
  • They want to feel connected and encourage others to do so.
    Between happy hours and company volunteering, Millennials like to get to know their coworkers personally. They also want to feel a connection with upper management and the company at-large. Working for “people” as opposed to an intangible brand helps the younger generation feel a deeper sense of pride in the work they produce. Finding ways to cultivate a positive company culture will attract and retain quality employees who have the business’ best interests at heart.

Millennials may be stigmatized as lazy and noncommittal, but don’t believe the hype. Adjusting leadership style and embracing the evolving pool of employees (while still maintaining your core values) can help open business up to previously untapped opportunities through attracting innovative talent.

Stephen Wright is the Founder and President of Houston-based Wright Business Technologies.

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