As an increasing number of millennials work their way up their organizations, and become leaders, managers, and executives, they want to know how to take their leadership from just good to great. In fact, 60 percent of millennials see themselves in management positions in the next decade. According to Jonny Chia, Innovation Director of Doable–a company that helps millennials take their ideas from pipe dream to possible–and Sheena Livingston, Creative Director, there are five specific things millennials can do to take their leadership from good to great:
1. Practice the art of empathy to help bridge the gap between team members and outside stakeholders.
2. Be inquisitive and invest in your personal growth.
3. Act as a mentor to others in your cohort/age group to help advance their own careers.
4. Trust and instill confidence in others to explore and pursue ideas.
5. Practice creativity and resourcefulness. Do a lot with a little.
I asked Jonny and Sheena to provide more detail about what millennials can do to become better employees–and great leaders. Here’s what they said.
Q: What trends are you seeing with millennial workers? What do you think stands out among them? What is different from a millennial worker than you might see from any other type of employee?
Sheena Livingston, Creative Director of Doable:
I think millennials at work tend to take matters into their own hands a little bit more. If they have an idea, they are more likely to go for it. They create a prototype, start making it or share it with people and get feedback. They don’t necessarily wait to get approval. They would rather prove out their idea first before they get permission to do it and I think that’s the trend we are starting to see.
I also think millennials are just starting to embrace their “millennial-ness” a little bit more. A few years ago, there were all these articles about how millennials are the “me, me, me generation”: selfish, lazy, narcissistic, needy. And you wanted to hide the fact that you were younger and you wanted to talk and act a little bit older, more professional, buttoned up. You wanted to act like the leaders in the company were acting. But now, millennials are starting to be themselves a little bit more at work. There is more celebration of the good qualities of millennials. You are starting to see appreciation in the headlines you read. And we’re becoming such a larger part of the workforce so there’s strength in numbers. I think everyone should be able to be themselves at work or not feel like they have to conform to what was the standard to previous generations.
Jonny Chia, Innovation Director of Doable:
Another trend we’re seeing is that millennials are a lot more inquisitive than generations before. They have grown up with social and professional networks that allow them to look into different worlds beyond their own. This ability has developed a lifelong passion to continue to evolve oneself. Millennials are aware that in order to keep up in an ever-changing and sped up world, they need to continue to learn and evolve, and do it fast. This is how they will not only make themselves relevant but also invaluable.