Deloitte has recently spoken with nearly 8,000 Millennials (also referred to as Generation Y, which are those born in the 1980s and 1990s) about what makes a great leader. The survey was tasked with identifying leadership qualities they seek in their seniors. In my humble view, the timing was pretty spot on as Millennials will dominate the workforce around the world in less than a decade from now.
So here are the qualities of a ‘great leader’ of the future:
- Innovation – forget about making the ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ and ‘this is our way’ statements, and replace them with ‘how else could we be doing it to get better at what we do’. Innovation is not something you do when you have spare time (and let’s be frank, there is no such thing as spare time at a workplace), but instead a way of operating and running the business. Set clear vision, plans and goals for your business and your people, and keep a close eye on delivering it.
- Passion – if you are a leader who doesn’t enjoy ‘leading’, quit. Millennials want to connect with the overall purpose of your business, and feel passionate about working with (for) you. They want meaningful jobs focused on making a real impact, as well as financial results. They want to be led by example, they are intuitive and faking it will not work for them.
- Inspiration – are you able to make your teams love what they hate, and turn the boring into exciting? If so – bingo! Being able to inspire those around you is a key to your success. It’s worth investing your time into getting to know your people, which should result in a positive culture, higher engagement and healthy bottom line.
- Interpersonal Skills – which is your ability to get along with others. Sound relationships are key for winning with people and getting the job done.
- Determination – being determinate, open, honest and trustworthy when making decisions is the way forward. You need to be able to listen, process and interpret the information to make sound business decisions, and importantly stick with them. What if you get it wrong? Well, you will from time to time, so just own it and be transparent.
- Strategic Thinker – good leaders are in ‘the now’ as well as ‘the future’ all the time. They know the importance of seeing the company’s future holistically, but without losing the sight of current critical areas of the business. Strategic leaders welcome critical business analysis and risk taking.
Over the past decade, we have been increasingly investing into an employee engagement initiatives, employee wellbeing, talent development and total reward offerings. Millennials must feel they are working for good employers, and are treated fairly. In return, they will work hard for the business. So the key is to keep a healthy balance between the needs of the business, and needs of your people.