9 Ways Millennials Are Disrupting the Leadership World

by Chris Rhatigan on Apr 18, 2016 11:00:00 AM

9 Ways Millennials Are Disrupting the Leadership WorldMillennials in the workplace aren’t just fetching cups of coffee and performing entry-level tasks — many are at the tops of their fields. This generation brings their own set of values and priorities to the workplace. With many millennials rising through the ranks, the norms of the corporate world are changing.


1. An emphasis on work-life balance

While boomers worked long hours and sacrificed their personal lives, this generation wants balance. Expect millennial leaders to offer more flexible vacation time, encourage employees to take breaks during work, and organize informal company events.

9 Ways Millennials Are Disrupting the Leadership World by TINYpulseSOURCE: giphy.com


2. Greater collaboration

In our Employee Engagement Survey, we found that millennials crave opportunities to collaborate with their peers. Millennial leadership will look for ways to support this. As old hierarchies crumble, these new leaders will seek to create a feedback loop that involves the whole team.


3. Incorporating technology

Millennials are far more comfortable with technology than previous generations. A survey by Microsoft found that millennials are more likely to use multiple devices and be hooked into social media. Millennial leaders will bring technology to the workplace in unexpected ways, like using Snapchat to connect with customers.

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4. Social responsibility

A study by Cone Communications found that the overwhelming majority of millennials have a strong interest in corporate responsibility in nearly everything they do, from where they shop to where they work. These are savvy consumers who want to only support businesses that impact the world in a positive way. Millennial leaders will push businesses to give back to their communities, support nonprofits, and become involved in political issues.


5. A loss of institutional memory

While the rise of millennials will have many positive results, the loss of experienced leadership will be noticeable. According to the Georgetown University’s Center for Education and Workforce, two out of three jobs that open up to college graduates will be because of retirements. These experienced leaders know how to navigate the business world and have deep connections within their companies. 


6. Greater transparency

Gone are the days of employees thinking their CEO is a shadowy figure who does something involved with stocks. Millennial leaders will be more likely to have an open-door policy, encouraging employees to drop by and discuss their concerns. They’re also more likely to be seen simply wandering around the office to find out how things are going.


7. More frequent and substantive feedback

The myth is that millennials demand instant positive reinforcement — they want to hear they did a good job, and they want to hear it now. But in our findings, millennials said they craved constructive criticism on a more regular basis. A rise in one-on-one meetings with a focus on challenging employees will be the way forward.


8. A generation looking for creative solutions

Some are calling millennials the most entrepreneurial generation. A survey by Manta found 76% of millennial-led businesses had a successful first year. These leaders will look to their employees to solve problems and generate exciting new ideas.

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9. A more independent, flexible workplace

A Deloitte study found 70% of millennials prefer independence to traditional business structures. Expect businesses to begin allowing employees to work from home or to come into the workplace only during the hours they work best. This generation of leaders will seek to get the best from their employees by adapting to their employees’ needs.

Ultimately, millennial leaders will be better at retaining their peers. They’ll create a workplace culture that suits others from a generation with a unique set of values.



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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.