How to Train Millennials to Become Leaders

The 75.4 million Millennials, those ages 18-34, are surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers, those ages 51-69, according to Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. That means that the Millennial generation is clearly heralding in and creating the next generation of leaders. Even more telling is that according to a report by Workplace Trends, The Millennial Leadership Survey, “91% of millennials aspire to be a leader.” This population, however, is choosing not to be loyal to employers, but are rather planning courses to excel in leadership and to work for organizations that support this growth.

An extensive and enlightening survey completed by Deloitte, The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, illuminates the position of Millennials on leadership. The Deloitte survey results concluded that the top concern among the Millennial population is that of becoming a leader, yet 63% of Millennials believe they are not receiving the proper training. Furthermore:

Millennials, in general, express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. This “loyalty challenge” is driven by a variety of factors…. [At the top of the list,] Millennials feel underutilized and believe they’re not being developed as leaders. Millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.

As the development of leadership skills is a top concern with this up and coming population, organizations can approach this learning gap in the 10 following Millennial-specific ways, subject matters, and competencies:

  1. Communication. Millennials are in constant communication with others with friends, family, and/or colleagues, and they highly value open communication and feedback in their professional life.
  2. Relationship building. Millennials believe that building and maintaining strong, effective and positive relationships is key to workplace success.
  3. Millennials want to work in organizations where the company values align with their own personal values as well as reflect the ways in which they see the world.
  4. Work-life balance. A top concern for Millennials is work-life balance as they strive to move into more demanding leadership roles. They strongly desire harmony among work and life tasks and to ensure downtime with family and friends away from the office.
  5. Mentorship. Millennials desire to have a mentor and to be a mentor to others.
  6. Transformational Leadership. Millennials do not want to be the leaders of the past; they want to be transformational leaders — those that challenge, motivate, and inspire others.
  7. Collaboration Millennials are interested in empowering others over making money or being recognized Millennials like to collaborate with their peers in order to achieve objectives.
  8. Purpose/Social Good. Millennials desire to work for organizations that overall offer a purpose and aspiration that not only align with personal values, but also act for the good of society. They tend to lean more toward organizations who observe triple bottom lines - people, profit, and planet.
  9. Online Training. Millennials operate in an on-demand, technology-driven world. Therefore, offering training online is, of course, the best way to teach this generation leadership skills. 

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