We often think of millennials as college graduates, but the truth of the matter is that most of them are well into their twenties and thirties. How to prepare them for leadership is not a hypothetical issue that can be postponed for the future, but more of a vital challenge that organisations face.
Millennials make up over a third of the labour force and continue to make up approximately half of all leadership positions. Organisations that are taking steps to identify and prepare the best potential candidates for leadership positions stand to benefit greatly. The development of leadership skills is a top concern for firms as leaders can set the overall corporate culture and company approach.
Therefore, the question must be asked. How do we prepare the millennial generation for future leadership roles? How do we help those who are already in a position of leadership to succeed in the future?
There is a common misconception that millennials are lazy and have little work ethic. This is not necessarily true, however. Millennial leaders may have different values and approaches to other generational leaders. This group is more focused on values such as creating a sense of approachability as well as encouraging accountability. Through this method, high-performance teams can be formed.
Challenging millennials so they can improve their experience and skills
Millennials are confident about their soft skills. However, their confidence, at times needs work. Gaining technical expertise and learning hard skills is fundamental to the foundation of their leadership. To effectively manage, millennials will need to face situations that may challenge their problem-solving skills and abilities. These skills are something that can be achieved by slowly introducing leadership tasks in smaller projects to ease them in their transition. Millennials need to attend events that are geared towards management to increase confidence and capability when making decisions instead of needing constant approval and advice.
Prioritise transparency and communication
Millennials lead best in an environment where transparency is key and communication is the priority. You need to encourage open conversations through all the different layers of management. Employees must be familiar with all policies and procedures of the company they work for. With an excellent understanding of how and why management comes to a particular decision, these up and coming leaders can make educated decisions in line with company standards and values.
Time to offer regular feedback
Millennials will value your input when it is honest, constructive and given frequently. Employees are better at receiving their feedback regularly so they can adjust and improve their performance over a period of time. The more they receive feedback, the better they will become at accepting change and growing from it. If millennials are recognised for their work at least once a week, they are more likely to develop the habits and skills that they need to acquire to become leaders.
Match millennials with a mentor
Millennials who want to be in a leadership role can benefit from mentorship programs. As a result of this, many companies are adopting mentorship and training programs. The most successful ones are those that have the support of senior-level executives.
How to find a good mentor? Tech networking events such as Pause Fest are a great start.
In the end, the best way to get millennials trained for leadership roles is to implement a positive leadership culture that they can learn from. Doing this will lead to positive outcomes. These ideas are enforced through practical experience and using all feedback in a constructive manner. Leaders should aim for vulnerability in leadership to make themselves approachable for the staff they are supervising. By learning positive leadership practices and using excellent communication skills, millennials will be able to transition into management and leadership roles with ease and success.