Millennial Leadership: Should We Write Off the Millennial Generation, and Wait for the Next?

Millennial Leadership: Should We Write Off the Millennial Generation, and Wait for the Next?

A seasoned leader that I coach asked a legitimate question: “Does the next-gen leader I’m working with have what it takes to be successful in their current role and to build a career? Will they be able to carry forward and implement the strategies we have in place.

Since the world is changing at such a rapid pace, and our future depends on this generation, how should we, the experienced business leader, respond to the millennial challenge?

Should we write off this generation and wait for the next?

We need business leaders with strong moral character to mentor the Millennials. We need to tap their fresh insights, along with their technological and social media savvy. When this is combined with our experience and seasoned wisdom, the relationship can have a positive synergistic impact on their development and our businesses.

How can you be the catalyst in your business to create this synergy?

While writing my newest book, Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader, I conducted a survey among business leaders. I learned that their challenges, and yearnings, fall under three main categories: character, confidence, and collaboration.

Millennials Matter
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I found that 45 percent of business owners, CEOs, and presidents have deep concerns regarding the core character of their millennial employees. They question whether their up-and-coming leaders will be able to stand confidently – or even lead effectively – in an increasingly chaotic world filled with shifting spiritual, cultural, moral, and ethical norms.

Other leaders are concerned with the lack of resilience, accountability and determination they see in some of their emerging leaders.  

What can you do to make a difference?

Step up. Determine to actively guide or mentor a Millennial in your life. Exemplify strong moral character as a person and a professional so your young leader can see strong character in action. 

See my Character Video.


Information is only a Google search away, and many Millennials appear extremely knowledgeable, confident and mature. Millennials are often labeled as narcissistic know-it-alls, but in my experience, many suffer from invalidating thinking and low self-esteem. They constantly measure themselves against others. Why? Their head knowledge lacks the deep roots that grow the confidence that they will be able to stand in any storm and press through any obstacles.

What can you do to make a difference?

Step up. Help them foster a realistic confidence of who they are and what they have to offer. Provide constructive guidance so that they can grow and get better at what they are doing. Here are some of the tools you can use to help them build realistic confidence:

  • Give regular, timely feedback on how they’re doing and where they need to grow.
  • Commit to intentional career development that harnesses their unique talents and skills.
  • Establish a company culture that allows them to blend their work life with their personal life.

See my Confidence Video.


Millennials seem to be natural collaborators who are socially connected to everyone. However, business leaders see Millennials’ collaboration and relationship-building skills break down when they work with someone who has a substantially different viewpoint than they do, partly because they learned to disagree more often over social media than face to face.

The limitations of technology-based communication were revealed in our Millennial Matters survey. Only 11 percent of millennial participants listed lack of verbal communication skills as their top concern. For experienced leaders, this is creating significant workplace challenges.

What Can You Do to Make a Difference?

Step up. You can help your up-and-coming leader to communicate and collaborate by helping them gain confidence in dealing with situations where they lack experience. This includes:

  • Understanding their relationship wiring;
  • Discovering the power of deep questioning skills;
  • Learning how to listen deeply to others; and,
  • Dealing with difficult conversations.

Step up today. Mentor the Millennial in your life. Help him or her build character, confidence, and collaboration.  We can’t write Millennials off and wait for the next generation. They matter to our future, therefore Millennials need to matter to us today.

Leadership Lesson: Treat the Millennial you coach as an individual – they will give you their best work if they know you truly care about them.

Leadership Question: What are you doing to let the Millennial in your sphere of influence know that they matter?

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