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Millennials: Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Millennials: Tomorrow’s Leaders Today


Just like when they entered the workplace, Millennials are changing things up as they begin stepping into leadership roles. Gen Y is ready to take on new challenges as they grow professionally, calling for the end of Millennial shaming, a trend that I cover in my recent Tomorrow @Work Trends Report in conjunction with The Hartford.

Related: Why Millennials Aren’t Really Lazy

Contrary to some stereotypes associated with Millennials, The Hartford’s 2013 Leadership Survey shows Gen Y is motivated to make the transition and become leaders in multiple aspects of their lives.

Where Gen Y Leads Today

Despite being the youngest generation in the workforce, 78% of Millennials surveyed by The Hartford said they already consider themselves to be a leader in some aspect of their lives. At this point, most Millennials view themselves as leaders in their personal lives, such as among family and friends (64%), compared to 35% saying they are leaders in business/work.

As younger employees take on a variety of leadership roles, they should aspire to become well-rounded in these roles. They can translate their experiences leading in personal situations to leadership in the workplace. And, in the multi-generational workplace, Gen Y can learn a lot about managing and leading from more experienced mentors.

Mentorships don’t have to be focused solely on an older mentor and younger mentee. With vast knowledge around technology and digital trends, Millennials can make great co-mentors to help their mentors understand how to take advantage of the virtual workplace technology advancements. In that way, the mentor relationship can be beneficial to both parties.

Where Gen Y Will Lead Tomorrow

Whether or not they consider themselves to be leaders today, nearly three-fourths (73%) of Millennials surveyed said they aspire to be a leader in the next five years. Where do they want to lead? The workplace is the top area (63%, followed by among family and friends (51%).

Millennials are redefining what it means to be a leader. The Hartford found the majority of Millennials consider a leader to be someone who “motivates or influences others to reach a shared goal,” not just someone who dictates or gives people orders. Given that Millennials have grown up being coached and mentored by others, it should come as no surprise that this generation sees the value it brings.

Millennials should keep in mind the importance of staying consistent as they develop into leaders in the workplace. Your leadership style should reflect your personal brand. For example, if part of your personal brand is that you are tech-savvy as a manager, you should be an available resource for and open to coworkers working remotely. This gives you an opportunity to further your reputation as a digital whiz and provides great visibility within your organization. Always keep in mind that your personal brand and who you are as a leader should complement one another.

As Millennials move toward their desired leadership roles in the workplace, we will likely see initiatives around the adoption of technology, allowing for more work/life balance and workplace wellness programs. Millennials have seen changes in the workplace since they’ve entered it, and as they become leaders we can expect this trend to continue.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Lindsey Pollak Lindsey Pollak is a best-selling author, Millennial career expert, and spokesperson for The Hartford’s My Tomorrow campaign. She has more than a decade of experience advising both young professionals and organizations on the changing world of work. She is the author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World. Her next book, Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders, will be published in fall 2014 by HarperCollins.