Those born after 1980 are the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. It’s a generation that is racially diverse, economically stressed and politically liberal, according to Pew Research Center. Millennials are also confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.
But what do they aspire to be? The answer is quite simple. According to a national survey, 91% of Millennials aspire to be leaders. It’s the definition of leadership that sets them apart from the generations who’ve led before them.
Almost half of Millennials define leadership as “empowering others to succeed;” when asked about their biggest leadership motivator, 43% said it was the ability to empower others, while only 5% said money, and 1% said power.
Leading through transformation.
When asked about the type of leader Millennials aspire to be, 63% chose a transformational leader. This means Millennials seek to inspire their employees with a sense of purpose and excitement.
Companies that want to build an authentic, strong brand, especially when it comes to community involvement, can look to Millennials for help. According to the Case Foundation, one of the top motivations for Millennials to stay with their current jobs was belief in the company’s mission and purpose – a belief that rests on outcomes achieved, not promises made.
Millennials believe they have what it takes to lead.
Millennials already think they have the right skills to become leaders. Fifty-eight percent of this generation said that the most important leadership skill is communication, which 51% said was one of their strongest skills. Relationship building was also important to Millennials, with 55% reporting that the most important leadership skill is the ability to build relationships, which 66% said was one of their strongest skills.
There’s room for improvement in experience and technical skills.
Forty-three percent of Millennials reported that their weakest skill is acquired industry experience, and 41% said technical expertise was a weak area.
Millennials seek enhanced learning and fewer managers.
Millennials want to learn online. When asked what type of training would be most effective for their development, 68% of Millennials said online classes. In addition, 83% of Millennials said they would prefer to work for a company with fewer layers of management.
Companies need to create stronger leadership development programs.
Fifty-five percent of Millennials surveyed said they aren’t satisfied with the leadership development opportunities offered by their company, and 39% said their company suffers from poor leadership. Companies need to create stronger leadership development programs. Millennials reported the biggest problems with their company’s leaders are their ability to develop others.
Work-life balance is key.
Millennials are known to seek companies that offer flexible work schedules and telecommuting, even if it means a lower salary. In fact, 28% of Millennials reported that work-life balance was their biggest reservation about committing to a leadership position.