Preparing Millennial Leaders for the Future

Dear C-Suite: Here is some help on getting the facts about Millennial leaders.Millennial leaders will shortly begin filling every leadership role in U.S. companies.

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    Existing research tells us that Millennials will make up half of the global workforce by 2020, and at tech-related and consulting companies it is happening much faster.

    With the current U.S. GDP currently tipping the scales at about $18 trillion, and a complex global economy, it’s fair to ask whether we’ve adequately prepared these young leaders.

    Many myths exist about Millennials, but I was uncertain that today’s C-suite leaders truly had the facts about Millennial leaders – those already in leadership roles. What are their values, views on leadership, or preferred development style? As it turns out, little research existed – until now.

    Just released by The Conference Board, Development Dimensions International, and my own firm RW2 Enterprises, Divergent Views/Common Ground is a research-based examination from interviews, surveys and focus groups of CEOs, Millennial leaders, and other C-Suite leaders from 14 major U.S. organizations who joined us in this research.

    Current CEOs and Millennial leaders see eye-to-eye on many facets of leadership. Yet the differences between them are both real and informative, and show that company leaders should start addressing them now.

    Two findings I found particularly compelling:

    1. Millennial leaders DO want the CEO job, but have very different views on what skills are necessary to be a good CEO. When asked, more than 20 percent said they were interested and even saw themselves in the role within 10 years. But when asked what skills are most important to a successful CEO, they picked leadership impact and interpersonal skills at the top of the profile. Current CEOs listed critical thinking, business and management skills, and stakeholder management.
    2. These young leaders plan on staying at their current company for 15 or more years. More than 43% said they were planning on staying at least that long, compared to 28% of non-Millennial leaders. But their loyalty appears to be based on a formula that includes compensation, promotion, development, work-life balance and a sense of belonging to a community.

    Ultimately, we learned that our companies should be in good hands. This is a hard-working and committed group. They do, however, have views that differ from today’s leaders. Understanding and acting on these findings will be less a matter of which group is right, and more about gaining clarity on the perceptions of both groups. Our goal should be to make certain these leaders have the skills and experience they need to successfully take the helm of American companies.

    Originally published onLinkedin Pulse

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  • RonWilliams

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