Amazeballz Stories Day 38/100: 5 Ways Millennials Make Better Leaders (and you can be too)
You have been misinformed. Millennials are not the worst thing to come along.
In fact, in many ways — they are the best!
The millennials are here — many of them out of college and entering the work force. They are ready to take on leadership roles. And they are well suited for a new kind of leadership.
1. Millennial learn leadership from the inside out.
Boomers and X-ers were told the best way to lead was to just jump in and figure it out as they go. It was the jump and “build a parachute on the way down” philosophy.
We hear exceptional stories of people who managed to accomplish exactly that and we gather around that template. But in reality it is a terrible model for leading a team. We have all been lead by someone who clearly cannot handle the many elements of the task at hand and who does not know how to ask for help or get assistance for the many things they DON’T know how to do. Learning how to lead should not always be done “on the fly.”
Millennials prefer to learn before they jump. They are fascinated by learning and earning more responsibility. They are willing to try new things but they don’t do it by jumping off the cliff and carrying the team over the edge with them.
2. Millennials value diversity.
Millennials have learned that people with different histories, viewpoints and experiences are very valuable to the team. When we withhold judgement and truly listen to others, we broaden our understanding of the world. Which allows us to accomplish more.
Millennials don’t have to force themselves to think and act this way. They just get it. They have many friends and classmates with diverse backgrounds. It is normal to welcome new thoughts.
Millennials look for and value new voices like writers read books from new authors or musicians check out new music. We don’t always like everything new we come across but we are willing to try it so that we can grow and make better stuff.
3. Millennials lead from their hearts.
What was once seen as millennial apathy is now revealing itself as patience, compassion and the ability to listen. It was not that millennials did not care. They simply were waiting and listening to find a true connection to their work.
Boomer and X-er leaders are prone to be flashy in their work and then get caught up in ego, money and fame. This is the cult or hustle and acclaim. When we are lead by ego, your own importance supersedes adding value to others. In the throes of ego, it is never enough, no matter what you accomplish.
Millennials value people over money and fame, which makes them more sustainable leaders, who can hold a project together over the long haul. Millennials are compassionate and deliberately step back from slippery slope of ego driven leadership.
4. Millennials value transparency.
Millennials are less interested in a visionary leader and much more interested in ethics, transparency and clarity.
Millennials want to know why. They want to participate in decision making. They want to be trusted with details and nuances and not be metaphorically sent to the kid’s table and away from the challenging conversations.
As leaders, millennials are willing to share their journey, their struggle and disclose their own mistakes. They are not angry when leaders make mistakes but they are angry if the leaders hide or lie about their errors.
5. Millennials focus on self awareness.
Self awareness is the new authenticity. The problem with authenticity is some people have taken it as permission to act like as big of a douche canoe as they want claiming that they are just “being real.”
If a leader is authentically an asshat, that is not good enough for the millennial (or for most of us frankly). Millennials value self awareness, where you know who you are AND continually strive to become your best self.
Self awareness is encouraging feedback and LISTENING when it is given, even if it is hard to hear. Self awareness is having the courage to confront yourself and own your responsibility for your life and how it is going.
Millennials are not looking to blame others for what is wrong with the world and are not looking to exempt themselves from the task of fixing things. They are self aware enough to realize they are not perfect and they are willing to take on the project of self improvement as the best way to help the world become a better place.
I have been working closely with millennials for the past 12 years and my experience with this generation is one of great hope and possibility.
We have so much to learn FROM the millennials: as entrepreneurs, as change agents, as builders and doers and community members.
This generation is poised to build a future that reflects and supports a wide community — not just continually propping up the privileged few.
I am excited to see more millennials in leadership. What about you?
Hi! I’m Mary Lucus Flannery — a chiropractor, a writer, a marketer, and a teacher.
I am the founder of The Art of Story Project, an online business which coaches speakers and content creators to use story to become more powerful influencers.
Amazeballz Stories is a writing project where I share a story about what I am learning every day. I am challenging myself to know my truth and speak my truth — in public — every day.
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