With their admiration of Instagram posts, TikTok video challenges, and perhaps reading LinkedIn articles, millennials are a highly misunderstood generation. Born between 1977 and 1988, the millennial generation of children, have parents who have provided them with attention and emotional validation and have high expectations that they will succeed in their life. Millennials have grown up in an era of technology that has advanced in the blink of an eye, and as a result, they bring to the workplace self-confidence and exceptional educational achievements, with a self-starter personality, similar to a transformational leader.
The millennial generation is focused on developing their skills, while seeking new challenges to achieve their goals, without the fear of failure. They are agile thinkers operating on the mode, “I am ready to take on the world,” while bringing change to old processes through fresh ideas and innovative, efficient ways of completing mundane tasks. What is the bridge between millennials and transformational leaders? It’s the desire to take on any task with ambition and embody the traits of a transformational leader. While not all millennials possess these traits, equally so, there are non-millennials who are not without these traits.
- It’s All About Me: From their first day in the organization, millennials have a mentality that shows up every day at work: I can run the world. With such a unique way of thinking, millennials are inspired to idealize leadership. They will regularly self-reflect, while consciously desiring to succeed with the model displayed by a transformational leader, whom they see keeping egos in check.
- I AM MY OWN BOSS: Millennials can self-manage when provided the opportunity to work flexible schedules. With such autonomy, millennials will go the extra mile to complete their work with quality assurance. Transformational leaders seamlessly establish direction for millennials in the workplace.
- Risky Business: As avid strategists, transformational leaders share their desire to take risks with millennials. Millennials are always seeking continuous growth, learning, and mentorship opportunities. Millennials tend to be quick learners. They are cautiously optimistic with taking risks, but when given an opportunity to model their transformational leaders, they will feel mentally safe to take risks strategically. Millennials are swift thinkers and will rely upon their transformational leader as a safety net to optimally make informed decisions.
- I TOO CAN MAKE DECISIONS: Millennials are raised to be free thinkers and find solutions independently. Their ambition is a driving force to want to run the world! They will model their ability to think strategically based on an admired transformational leader, who hustles and is fearless! Transformational leaders are secure in their abilities and welcome the opportunity to self-reflect and incorporate new ideas.
- Believe in WHAT? Why? Millennials are no-nonsense individuals. They are raised to think of themselves as a commodity sold to the premier bidder. If they are given an option that is based on “your way or the highway” – they will walk! Transformational leaders are able to cultivate a unified, organizational consciousness in the mind of the millennial through idealized inspiration.
- My Idol: Millennials are coachable! Millennials are inspired by aspirations, motivation, and the achievement of the fruits of their labor. Millennials are great collaborators but equally excel at working autonomously. They are efficient problem solvers, utilizing technology to meet clients’ needs and desires.
- Transformational Paradigms: Millennials appreciate change! They want to see their ideas incorporated into transformational paradigms (i.e. innovation, new products, or processes). They rely on their transformational leader boss to make it happen!
- I am versatile & curious: Millennials & transformational leaders share a common characteristic: versatility. They prefer working in teams and expect psychological safety in order to freely share their independent ideas! Millennials pursue opportunities to work with their leaders and contribute to projects with novel ideas. Millennials are curious. Their curiosity is often misunderstood and perceived as challenging. Note to my readers: Millennials ask questions for clarification and equate curiosity with learning and growing. They want continuous exposure to organizational components in order to bridge connections for further insight, gain context, and network – all which serve as checkpoints.
- Proactiveness…on my time: Millennials require a flexible schedule. They will indeed put their family and friends ahead of work. Nevertheless, they will manage their time effectively to ensure work is completed with sufficient time to meet deadlines. They do not want to disappoint their transformational leader, especially if they are loyal to the boss. Loyalty to the boss is the number one reason millennials will remain in their jobs. Conversely, dissatisfaction with the boss, including a toxic workplace, is the number one reason millennials will leave an organization.
- Believe in Me & I WILL Move the World for You: Millennials are results-oriented. They will work hard to ensure the goals set upon them are achieved. If they are led by a vision, which transformational leaders provide, millennials will remain loyal, go the extra mile to produce quality work that has purpose. Millennials will expect feedback, seeking accountability to make improvements throughout the way. Don’t wait until the performance evaluations to tell a millennial how they can improve. They require real-time feedback. Millennials equally seek praise and rewards for their successful achievements.
In the workplace, generational differences may result in organizational conflict. When bosses and supervisors adopt a transformational style of leadership, it can reduce generational conflict and result in a culture of happiness that capitalizes on attributes and talents millennials bring to the workforce.