As millennials approach age 30, more focus on what it takes to be a leader and how to grow their careers in that direction. Older generations label millennials as entitled, tech-absorbed and lazy job hoppers.
Research, however, frames millennials more positively, as eco-conscious, community-minded, innovative, empathetic, and driven.
These qualities empower millennials to get what they want and deserve out of their careers, and they make decisions that inform and guide the direction they desire to grow toward leadership.
Perhaps, the generation simply knows what it wants and realizes that life is too short to wait for something that may not come. To older generations, this adds support to the labels of “entitled” and “lazy,” suggesting that millennials aren’t hard workers and should avoid leadership opportunities, which is far from the truth.
The Stats Say Otherwise
A survey from GfK and Project: Time Off reveals millennials view themselves as “work martyrs” and are the least likely to use their vacation time.
43% of work martyrs were millennials compared to 29 percent of other generations. Interestingly, millennials don’t mind being viewed that way — 48 percent of millennials desired this point-of-view from their managers, compared to 39 percent of Gen Xers and 32 percent of Boomers.
That’s around the corner, and both current leaders and millennials need to prepare themselves.
Are millennials ready to lead? Mindful nap rooms and adult coloring books don’t set millennials up for leadership ability at first glance, but millennials do desire leadership roles.
91 percent aspire to take charge in a higher position to empower and guide others.
Here are 5 qualities that millennials need to make it as a leader, and many already possess these attributes:
Millennials were the first generation to grow up fully immersed in the Technological Age. They emerged as empowered innovative professionals who spot inefficiency at the drop of a dime and will strive to improve processes that give a better return on investment, respond quicker and take risks to evolve how businesses address changing markets.
Growth and change are vital in business, but many companies fear moving beyond what’s worked in the last 20 years.
Millennials must be encouraged to step up. When allowed to lead, millennials are in the perfect position to innovate and update organizational and technological systems to do more than keep up.
2. Socially Conscientious
When prompted with the term “socially conscientious,” older generations will likely jump to the mental image of a millennial staring at their social media profiles while another person endures a one-sided, in-person conversation.
Social conscientious, in this case, though, means that millennials are community-minded and eco-conscious individuals focused on giving back and making a positive impact.
Driven by a sense of purpose, millennials take advantage of corporate volunteer programs. Though they joined the workforce during one of the toughest labor markets in decades, millennials contribute an average of $600 annually to causes they care about in the face of personal financial challenges.
Millennials also want to work for companies with social responsibility as a part of their mission statement. Case in point, 56 percent of millennials chose to work for a company that expressed dedication to making a social impact and giving back.
In the long-term, millennial commitment to giving back will instill a sense of purpose and duty in their leadership approach.
Companies admire employees who face challenges and changing environments head-on. Millennials grew up in a changing world with booming technology, terrorist attacks, and a crashing job and real estate market during a financial recession.
Millennials are a hardy generation prepared to face shifting circumstances with grace and solutions.
Unsurprisingly, a connection exists between change and compliance when it comes to people.
Culturally, millennials tend toward flexibility, and 60 percent identify themselves as adaptable compared to 40 percent of Gen Xers. Millennials are more likely to adapt their workflow with various tools and responses than mono-tasking older generations.
As the economy and job market continue to shift, adaptability is a vital component in a leader. Millennial employees are resilient and flexible in the face of change and challenges.
Millennials represent the most diverse workforce, defining themselves with a mix of ideas, experiences, backgrounds, and identities instead of focusing solely on demographics.
47 %percent of millennials search for diversity and inclusion in the job they accept, such as in decision-making processes, work culture, and policy. The presence and interactivity of each of these factors boost positive work culture, collaboration, and profitability.
Corporate boards with diverse representation experience a 95 percent increase in equity. Diversity leads to innovation and creativity in business practices.
While other generations view millennials as job hoppers, millennials see this opportunistic perspective as a positive attribute. They work hard, as the statistics show, but they don’t expect or wait around decades for companies to give back with benefits, promotions, and opportunities that never come or are far too late.
With large amounts of student debt and the circumstances they grew up in, why should this generation be expected to wait decades for the fruit of their efforts to ripen?
Millennials seek out the right fit and advancement opportunities that fulfill their needs in the now, the near future and the long-term. Millennials aren’t saving for retirement, which makes sense given current economic circumstances.
Instead, 63 % of millennials save for financial freedom to live their desired lifestyle, realizing they’ll work longer than prior generations. Only 37 percent of millennials save to leave the workforce.
Millennials have what it takes to lead, and many actively seek positions they hope to fulfill their needs and provide leadership opportunities. When they don’t, millennials move on.
When companies make room for millennials to advance, the returns on investment multiply as these work martyrs demonstrate innovation, socially-conscientious duty, adaptability, diversity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.