In Defense Of Millennial Leadership

The stereotypes are wrong, according to this Gen Y entrepreneur, who believes 'millenipreneurs' are simply after something different—and they're changing business as we know it.

Millennials get a bad rep in the business world. We’re lazy. We’re entitled. We’re not loyal to one company, which has earned us the ‘job-hopping generation’ nickname.

We’ve been pigeonholed by these characteristics not because they’re true, but because we’re different. We don’t believe in the ‘this is how it’s always been done’ narrative because the impact of traditional entrepreneurship isn’t the same impact we want to make. We’re unabashedly course-correcting the business world because we know that, like anything, it’s time for change. Consumer expectations never stop changing, so neither should business objectives and processes.

Enter the next generation of entrepreneurs—millennipreneurs. And here’s how we’re changing business as we know it.

We’re driven by empathy, not profits

This isn’t to say that financial gain isn’t a significant driving force behind what we do, but it’s not the only factor we consider as we grow our companies. Where our predecessors often valued profits at the expense of their employees, we recognize that employee happiness is what actually drives success.

Employees used to hide their mental health at work so management couldn’t use their wellbeing against them. These feelings were deemed ‘weaknesses’ and could prevent an employee from receiving a well-deserved promotion or pay increase. But millennials are destigmatizing conversations around mental health, and millennials in leadership positions —who will surpass the number of Boomers in leadership by 2050—are promoting cultures where mental health is taken seriously.

Empathetic leadership is directly tied to positive job performance. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more motivated, more creative, more productive and more loyal to their companies.

We prioritize social responsibility

Younger generations take their social responsibility seriously. Seventy percent of consumers want to know what companies are doing to address social and economical issues; if their values aren’t aligned, a majority of these consumers won’t support the brand. On the other hand, if they’re happy with what they see, more than 34 percent of the population is willing to pay more for products from a socially responsible business.

As a result, millennipreneuers transfer that same social and economical urgency into their own business models. This isn’t only obvious in their business operations and the products they make; they also engrain it into their cultures and inspire and reward employees for getting involved in their local or global communities.

We’re quick to adopt technology

Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation, which is often something that older generations harp on when they scrutinize us. But the future of business is digital, so millennipreneurs are excited to use their passion for tech to transform their companies. Digital solutions can be leveraged to improve speed and efficiency so employees aren’t stuck doing mundane, tedious tasks. Instead, they can actually apply their skills to higher-level strategies. Adopting emerging technology is also what will help businesses maintain a competitive edge over competitors.

I’m also a huge believer in that technology will prove to be a significant proponent in solving the mental health epidemic currently facing the workforce. Disengaged and unhappy workers are costly. Companies can expect to lose around $225 billion every year from workplace absenteeism because of poor emotional and mental health, and it also costs around $2,246 to replace every employee that leaves because of lack of mental health support. Technology can help prevent your employees from overworking to exhaustion and it can help monitor for early signals of stress.

We’re far more flexible

People are talking a lot about flexibility, particularly in terms of remote work, because of the pandemic, but millennials have understood its significance for years now. Younger employees don’t want to be chained to their desks. In fact, most of them have even had freelance jobs or worked remotely before starting their own companies. As a result, this leads to more flexible working conditions.

There are certain industries and businesses that can’t function remotely, but when possible, millennipreneurs will make sure their team is equipped to work from home, whether that’s full-time or in a hybrid role. Not only that, but the 9-to-5 hours that have been the standard for decades is finally being reimagined. If employees are meeting deadlines and performing well, why not grant them some flexibility when it comes to their hours?

Millennial entrepreneurs aren’t lazy, entitled or disloyal. We’re pushing the boundaries and reimagining outdated traditions to usher in a working environment that welcomes the future of the workplace.

  • Get the CEO Briefing

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