Author: Ian Munro

Millennials and Leadership

We all know that the Millennial generation (also known as Generation Y) covers those born between 1981 and 1995. Those born after 1995 are part of Generation Z.

Millennials cover an age range of 24-38 so it is no surprise that many are now in management and leadership roles. This article looks at how Millennials are impacting in the Leadership arena as they bring their focus and motivations to the workplace. My expectation is that many readers of this article will be Millennials and it would be really good to have their feedback to this article

How millenials are perceived

As part of the research for this piece I pulled on articles generated by others interested in this space.

Initially some pointers about Millennials in Leadership

In a Millennials survey conducted by Virtuali and Work Place Trends, some interesting pointers showed that 91% of respondents wanted to lead and 50% said that “leadership” is the empowerment of others. The respondents believed they were strong in communication and relationship building – core Millennial features – but lacked confidence in industry experience and commercial expertise.

This throws up to me a warning that Millennials need to have greater commercial awareness on the impact their lifestyle views have on the success of the organisation which is paying them to deliver results.

The survey showed that Millennials clearly have different expectations from previous generations about what they expect to see in their leaders and the social good their organisations are doing both in the workplace and the wider environment.

A Forbes report by Kimberley Fries: 7 Ways Millennials Are Changing Traditional Leadership – highlights how Millennials are impacting on Leadership

    1. They’re showing a willingness to leave when leadership doesn’t meet standards
      Millennial are much more prepared to leave a management role where the leadership has shortcomings and demonstrates the leaders are not prepared to change. Their actions here have caused major disruption in a number of organisations leading to changes about how managers communicate and engage with the wider work force
    2. Millennials are expressing different needs regarding leadership training
      Leadership Millennials are quite demanding about having mentors and on line training facilities to build on their leadership knowledge base. Not all organisations are ready to engage with their needs
    3. They embrace a flat management structure
      Millennials are interested in lateral development as well as ladder development. Flatter structures allow them to focus and develop in both areas
    4. Millennials value leaders who seek feedback from all employees
      Feedback across the workforce is a key Millennials principle and so with the flat management structure mentioned above, Millennials expect leaders who consider everybody in their decision making
    5. They push back against policy for policy’s sake
      In principle Millennials support leadership decisions that benefit the organisation at large. However they have a questioning/challenging approach to most workplace situations. This means as leaders they are more willing to delve into previous decision making processes
    6. As leaders they seek to empower and transform
      Millennials have a cause which is the improvement of mankind and the environment. This means as leaders they will want to create structure, empowerment and engagement levels across organisations
    7. They seek and support flexibility and work-life balance
      Top of the Millennials wants list are a true work/life balance brought about by flexible hours, telecommuting, self-care and flexible workplaces. As they gain an increasing part in the leadership of organisations they have a main focus to drive change across how organisations actually work.

Where does this all take us?

The initial reaction from those I have spoken with regarding this article is that Millennials are just one age grouping amongst the age range of employees across their organisation.

Further they say that they have people policies that are aligned to organisation needs and longer term strategies.

All very nice I say but globally – and Millennials are a global issue – they will become the largest employee demographic within the next two years. Therefore they are not going away and are already well up the management ladders in organisations of all sizes

My question is what is being done in your organisation to meet the Millennial’s needs?

Are you grasping the opportunity their free thinking brings to your leadership table?

Please let me know your point of view on this issue by emailing me at