Millennials as Leaders in the Modern Workplace

Individuals born between 1981 to 1996 are the generation of so called “millennials”. Majority of the workforce today are millennials as boomers are making their way into their retirement phase. Millennials grew up during a time when the internet’s influence was rapidly expanding. This generation has always-on access to information, entertainment, and platforms for self-expression. Millennials are usually driven to search for their life purpose and satisfaction,  that’s why most of them are jumping from one company to another if not satisfied in their current workplace. 

In order to cope with the expectations and demands of a team of working millennials, traditional leaders are transforming  into more diverse-friendly, empathetic, servant leaders. Millennials want their managers to show that they care for their employees. They want to have a manager that understands them at the same time, can coach them to be better in their work. Empathetic leadership can ultimately improve productivity and create a healthier work culture. While servant leadership engages in their employees on a personal and professional level, getting to know them better, learning what their ultimate goals are, and how they can assist them in achieving those goals. This type of leadership is created through a series of mentorship, corporate training sessions, and possible  education assistance from the company. 

One major change over the years is that millennials aren’t afraid to leave the organization when they believe that their job expectations aren’t met. Unlike former generations, millennials are not afraid to speak up their demands and expectations on their jobs. Emerging millennial leaders are also involved in their career development through a combination of one-on-one mentorship and online training. Millennials put high value in work-life balance. It is important that management also seeks for flexibility and work-life balance. Millennials wants a leader who accepts feedback from all employees. As we are transitioning into a flatter organizational structure, more businesses are putting value on employees’ feedback to further understand the challenges on the employees point of view. 

As we celebrate women’s month this March, one of the most inspirational female millennial leaders today is Sarah Al Amiri. She is the first female Arabian scientist to lead the first UAE Mars Exploration, named Hope. The female led exploration aims to study Martian atmosphere and climate, including daily and seasonal changes. Hope Expedition has women make up 80% of the program’s scientific team. This big change from an industry where the majority of members are male, is an event to remember as this also shows gender and cultural diversity. 

Traditional leaders have been known to maintain conformity and organizational structure but millennials, as emerging leaders, are willing to speak out on areas of dissatisfaction and changing outdated ways of doing things. As millennials taking up most of the businesses’ workforce. Now is the perfect time to analyze and reform certain ways of doing business. 

About the author

Jowena Borral is an HR Generalist with more than 5 years of experience working with local and international companies. A business specialist with a knack for creative visualization, team engagement and human interaction.