Leading And Managing For Millennials

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Here are the critical components of influence. 

Did you notice that at some point in the last few years, Millennials started to take over the workforce?  

There are nearly seventeen million millennials in the UK, making up over a quarter of the total population. Millennials already make up the largest generational workforce in the UK – with them expected to dominate the UK workforce by 2020. 

Projections state that Millennials will make up in the region of half of all leadership positions in the next five years – so, investing in your potential Millennial leaders now is critical for securing the future success of your company. 

As the Baby Boomers start to retire, the next generation is poised to take the wheel. But meanwhile, they need great leadership in order to prepare them for the challenge. 

The problem for Millenials is that they have become stereotyped as narcissistic, short term thinkers with an overblown sense of entitlementTime Magazine even ran a cover story stating Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists. The reality is that they just want the best for themselves, like every other generation. But with access to the world at their fingertips, their expectations are high. 

Handled well, they can be great creative thinkers, agile and committed to ideas that fire their imagination and enthusiasm.  

So, what incentives do they respond well to? What turns them off? Also, what will make them stay with your organisation and become great leaders themselves? 

The winning strategy is to find out what appeals to Millennials with the drive and enthusiasm for leadership and put them at the core of your organisation. To help you, here are some of the key crucial components they are looking for in the workplace: 

Digital Learning Opportunities 

Ongoing development and lifelong learning are critical factors for Millennials as part of their overall career strategy. They want the opportunities to learn and grow, to acquire more in-depth knowledge and understanding that will allow them to flourish in their career of choice. Provide it, and you’re on to a winner. But fail to offer them these opportunities, and you run the risk that they will seek opportunity elsewhere. 

Born into a digital age, Millennials are agile learners who will reap the rewards of online learning facilities.  

Working well with these digital natives means that understanding that they have different ways of interacting with others and in the way they learn, so it’s critical to make sure your organisational strategy accommodates these communication types.  

Millennials enjoy autonomy in their learning, so online packages suit them very well, giving them the option to decide when to study and for how long. Being able to break their education into bite-size chunks appeals to them, and the online facility allows them to acquire information at the speed that works best for them. 

key topic of interest is soft skills development.  Because they are still relatively young and are not likely to have had managerial experience already, Millennials often lack these skills and building them into training allows them to develop useful attributes for future leadership such as active listening, time management, communication and influencing. 

Learning And Development Expectations 

Millennials are techsavvy and enjoy challenge.  

The test for organisations and current leaders is to set Millenials challenges rather than asking them to repeat the same things over and over again – they thrive on the cutting-edge, advanced and novel. So, hone in on areas where they have development needs – these are the skills they will want to acquire to help them on their aspirational career pathway. 

The worst thing you can do to a Millennial is to sit them at a desk and ask them to do the same old thing over and over again. Without stimulation and the chance to challenge the status quo, they will soon get bored and start to look for other employment. 

Keep coaching and learning firmly embedded in their development plan.  

Short, frequent training resonates well for Millenials, and as the first generation to grow up with the internet and social media, they are comfortable with online learning and using new technologies.  

Additionally, it’s these technological advances that shape their worldview and skills, so using online learning to your full advantage will create dynamic learning opportunities that will fully engage and inspire your Millenials, as well as employees across your entire organisation. 

Transparent Career Ladder 

Millennials are concerned with their future prospects  and they are ambitious.  

recent study stated that 91% of millennials aspire to reach leadership positions, and 42% are currently motivated to take the helm and empower others as leaders…” The study also found that 55% of millennials wish their employer offered better opportunities for leadership development. 

Feedback For Growth  

Contrary to other generational workplace groups, Millenials actively welcome and seek feedback. They embrace workplace transparency and see feedback as standard procedure in their development and desire to grow and succeed. 

By providing frequent constructive feedback, leaders can help Millenials assess what th are doing right (tick) and where they need to improve – which will fire their desire for personal and professional growth.  

Accepting Churn and Identifying Keepers 

Described by Gallup as the ’ job-hopping generation’ with 60% confirming they open to new opportunities and “21% saying they’ve changed jobs within the past year, Millenials are consequently often seen as the least engaged in a  workplace.   

As a leader, you will find that, inevitably, some Millenials will move on – accept that you have helped them grow and develop while they were with you. For those that stay, you will find that some stand out as potential future leaders.  

So, what can you do to nourish those leaders in training and keep them on board with your organisation? 

There are several key components that make Millenials think twice about bailing on their current workplace: 

  • Provide the skills they need – technical and soft skills 
  • Give them the right tools – to unlock their potential and deliver results 
  • Create a compelling  vision – to inspire them to grow with you 
  • Allow them freedom – their predisposal to an agile mindset will provide the attitude and determination to succeed and grow 
  • Listen to their ideas – to make them feel part of a bigger picture that is creating change 
  • And the ultimate key component for Millenials – Fuel their self-belief. By igniting their motivation and self-worth you will infuse them with passion for what they are doing, giving it purpose and meaning. And that’s the secret sauce for Millenials. 

Seek To Understand The ‘Why’ 

If you can understand the ‘why’ for Millennials, then you can understand what makes them tick.  

A job role that focuses solely on salary wont be of interest to them – they need to connect their own mission in life with the company, to understand and believe in the companys aspirations, ethos and goals and align their career path with that.  

You can assist this by taking a genuine interest in themcreating opportunities for you Millenial employees and seeking to retain them will commit them to your organisation.  

Millennials respond well to authenticity from their employers, and its worthwhile remembering that why pay, bonuses and workplace environment are vital to them – the key driver for them is the chance to make a difference.  

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials eagerness to lead is backed by selflessness; only 5% crave remuneration rewards, and a tiny 1% crave power. Its the chance to make a difference that really resonates with them 



Rachel Hewitt-Hall  

Managing Director  


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