Keith Fowler

The future of leadership – Learn from the Millennials

When it comes to workplace trends and corporate culture, there has been much written about the impact of Millennials. It seems that every week, a new post on LinkedIn is published about the effect the selfie generation has on the future of our workplace.

I have high hopes for Millennials in the workplace, and I am excited to see the changes and practices that have come about as the result of their influence. And let’s face it – every generation has given the one coming up after it a critical review. Perhaps this is down to the fear of feeling less current or dare I say old.. or simply it’s just human nature and our tendency to get stuck in our ways.

No matter what the reason, I choose to have a different take and instead look at what we can all learn from the positives and think about the future. What is this dynamic new generation bringing to the corporate world?

A Work Life Blend

When it comes to planning for the ideal situation at work, we tend to think of the phrase “work life balance” popularised by my generation (Gen X). That said, Millennials are much more interested in blending their time at work with their time at home. While past generations complained about being contacted during their off hours, Millennials prefer to answer emails, return phone calls and attend meetings during their time off. This flexibilitydoes, however, go both ways – they also want to be able to access their social media and personal matters during traditional work hours.

New Productivity Metrics

The rigid structure of 9 to 5 working hours and the standard annual performance review that we all know so well are to change. Millennials want to say goodbye to those strict paradigms of old. Millennials prefer to measure their performance rather by KPIs, and regular informal feedback systems underpinned by strong communication.

Empowering Employee Relationships

Millennials are not happy to sit back and watch as traditional structures of power play out in front of them. A willingness to try new things and an emphasis on sharing ideas and feelings make Millennials excellent leadership material. They are certainly not the traditional managers, and mentoring them should not be about trying to fit them into the old mould. Play to their strengths and encourage them to develop their natural skills.

It must be said however, across all generations, EQ still takes priority. The importance of self-regulation, self-awareness, and building strong relationships are all key.

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