6 Insights: What Kind of Leaders Millennials Will Be

CEOs have been fixating on the importance of millennials as consumers and workers. But have they thought about the kind of leaders the members of Generation Y will become as they age and climb into important positions in their businesses? And more importantly, how the grooming and mentoring process might need to change to optimize their growth and their strengths?

A new survey by Virtuali, a leadership-training firm, and WorkpaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership portal, provided some insights to that topic in “The Millennial Leadership Study.” Here are some highlights that can help CEOs and their HR leaders prepare for grooming the next generation for leadership.

1. Millennials definitely want to be in charge… some day. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed aspire to be a leader, and 52 percent of those raising their hands were women.

“Fifty-eight percent said that the most important leadership skill is communication.”

2. The kum-ba-yah factor. In the result that has been portrayed as a hallmark of this generation, when asked what their biggest motivator was to becoming a leader, 43 percent, the largest group, said “empowering others,” while only 5 percent said “money” and 1 percent said “power.”

3. Self-confidence reigns. Fifty-eight percent said that the most important leadership skill is communication—and 51 percent also felt that was one of their strongest skills. They also were high on their own ability to build relationships.

4. Not yet prepared. In a result that might send chills up the spine of the typical CEO whose business is going to rely on millennials for future leadership, 43 percent said their weakest leadership skill was having industry experience, and 41 percent said they were lacking technical expertise.

5. Holacracy, here we come! Eighty-three percent of millennials surveyed would prefer to work for a company with few layers of management.

6. Stronger leadership training desired. With several years in the workforce under their belt, 55 percent said their companies don’t offer adequate leadership- development opportunities.

Perhaps the most interesting finding in the survey, however, is what millennial workers believed about their company’s current bosses: 39 percent said their employer suffers from poor leadership. That suggests CEOs might need to be more concerned about how they’re faring as leaders than how the next generation might work out.



  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events