The Value of Millennials

Monday, November 5 2018

In North America the millennial generation is now larger than the baby boom generation.[1] The oldest millennials are in their mid thirties and they are moving up the leadership ranks of organizations. Many millennial leaders are already captains of innovative new businesses and others will become the presidents and CEOs of traditional businesses over the next two decades.

Every generation brings unique characteristics and perspectives to the world. Every previous generation complains that the rising generation is not capable of taking over the leadership roles and responsibilities of business and society. Yet the world continues and in time, the younger generation becomes the older one and the cycle continues. Today’s senior leaders, baby boomer or GenX, have a duty to mentor the ambition and drive of their younger associates and help them to develop into effective, strong leaders.

Leadership is a learned skill supported with natural aptitude and talent. Millennials represent a rich resource of raw leadership talent. They have learned teamwork and leadership skills in high school and university, playing organized sports and participating in social activism activities. They are well educated and have lived their lives immersed in tech and social media tools with which they are fluent. As a generation, millennials are more socially aware than previous generations, and want to be engaged in work that has meaning and purpose rather than just the paycheck. Millennials are today’s consumers and they are often influencers and decision makers in business transactions.

This is an important and valuable demographic now and it will become even more valuable in the coming years, so it is a wise business strategy to recognize and develop the leadership talents of individuals within this generational cohort.

The challenge for today’s senior leaders is to adapt and change the way they engage with their high potential millennials; to meet them where they are and to help them become the leaders they want to be. The irony, when it comes down to it, is that millennials, just like everyone else, need good, old-fashioned leadership, mentorship, coaching, and training to become the leaders they want to be, and which we need them to be. So, if there are no leaders-in-waiting in your organization it is time to get to work and create some.

[1] Fry, Richard (1 March 2018). “Millennials Projected to Overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation” Pew Research Centre. Retrieved November 3, 2018.