Leadership development: The Millennials are Coming!

May 17, 2017 by Wally Bock

Will Millennial Leadership Change the Way We Work?” That’s the provocative title of a blog post by Rich Wellins of DDI and Rebecca Ray of the Conference Board about research their firms conducted at the request of RW2 Enterprises. Here’s a summary quote from the post.

“The Conference Board published findings of this research in a report, Divergent Views/Common Ground: The Leadership Perspectives of C-Suite Executives and Millennial Leaders. Many of the findings refute the conventional wisdom and sometimes-negative stereotypes about Millennials.”

The post presents the realities that run counter to four popular beliefs (the authors call them “myths”) about Millennials as workers and as potential leaders. If you’re concerned with leadership development, I suggest you read the whole thing. Here’s my take.

Leadership development if you lead Millennials

There’s great news! Millennials aren’t some alien race sent to planet Earth to conquer it by changing all the rules of leadership. OK, maybe I exaggerate a little, but, seriously, how many articles have you read that said or implied something like that?

Millennials are human beings, so most of the things you’ve learned about leading human beings will still work. But Millennials are young human beings and they exhibit much of the impatience and overconfidence that commentators since Aristotle have bemoaned.

That doesn’t mean that they’re the same as you. You have more experience and they have fresh eyes. Your set of formative experiences and cultural reference points are different. But that’s manageable.

Leadership development for Millennials

It turns out that Millennials want the same things as most developing leaders. They want developmental assignments and mentoring and coaching.

That doesn’t mean they’re the same as you. They have those fresh eyes that let them see your organization and industry and the world in ways you can’t. So, consider using developmental assignments combined with action learning to turn them loose on some of your key problems. You might be surprised at when they come up with.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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