Why we should let Millennials be our managers

Millennials want only one thing, so it seems: to be a manager, and they want it #now. Their current managers tend to translate that attitude into arrogance and lack of patience. They had to work hard themselves to reach that goal and they are not likely to let go. In the mean time Millennials that don’t see their expectations met and have a different attitude: they just leave. Should managers from earlier generations set aside their ego’s and let generation Y have a go? Yes, they should. And here’s why:

“During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials (yes, 25%!) would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years. By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, while only 16 percent of Millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now.” This global trend was signaled by The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey. Nearly 7,700 Millennials, representing 29 countries around the globe, gave some pretty interesting answers on employment. And these are now the facts to deal with. All participants were born after 1982, have obtained a college or university degree, are employed fulltime, and predominantly work in large (100+ employees), private sector organizations. (1). “This remarkable absence of loyalty represents a serious challenge to any business employing a large number of Millennials, especially those in markets—like the United States—where Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce.”

[quote author=”” source=””]Managing Millennials? Don’t.
Let them manage you.[/quote]

They will leave anyway, unless…
What is true reason behind them demanding to be the manager? This straightforwardness, stubborn behavior one could say, holds an important message. Wanting a challenging role, while you have no experience what so ever, takes guts. And eagerness to grow and experience your boundaries. This is a generation that states they have underdeveloped skills of leadership and is very conscious about it. Could it be that demanding to just try and learn-by-doing give them this skill? Yes, it can! But do current managers lean into that? No, mostly not. Because they have a different view on making a career and their leadership skills were developed during their upbringing. It needs a very – very! – flexible attitude and some else…. focus on business initiatives, fairness of business and positive impact on customers.

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Top 5 things Millennials value:

  • Employee satisfaction, loyalty and fair treatment (26% of respondents say this is most important)
  • Ethics, trust, integrity and honesty (25%)
  • Customer care and focus (19%)
  • Quality of products, service and reliability (13%)
  • Corporate social responsibility (8%)


Long term focus
These top 5 signals a very important message: “we are about long term, and you better be behaving congruent and conform promises you made, or we’re gone.” Their priority for business can be translated in a willingness to invest in growth and driving business initiatives; dealing fairly with suppliers; developing new/innovative products and services and making a positive impact on customers. All ensuring the long-term future of the organization. “Millennials are, thus, in broad alignment with senior executives on initiatives that support long-term success, suggesting that they value approaches that directly impact individuals via jobs, income, skills, or quality products”, says the research by Deloitte.  They are thus embracing profit and do recognize making money as a vital component of business success. The only thing this generation does not tolerate – at all – is short term thinking.


[quote author=”” source=””]Take on a mentoring role and guide them. In the mean time showing them the need for business principles to ensure long term results. 


So how do we manage them? Lead by example. Servant leaders give way to their need to grow leadership skills. They guide a path to growth rather then contain Millennials’ experiences to the maximum that they ‘can handle’. Guidance can be provided by a mentor, so if you have the guts, just like they do: take a mentoring role and guide them. In the mean time showing them the need for business principles to ensure long term results. It seems that this format of leadership gives Millennials a better chance at developing and enhances loyalty, according to the researchers. “Six in ten (61 percent) Millennials are currently benefiting from having somebody to turn to for advice, or who helps develop their leadership skills. Again, this varies by market and appears more prevalent in emerging (67 percent) rather than mature (52 percent) economies. Mentorship levels are particularly low in Australia, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, and France, where only a minority of Millennials have a mentor. Improving these levels cannot not only advance the careers of Millennials, but it will also go some way toward strengthening loyalty.


So yes, let them take leadership positions. And then be there, give advice.Generation X has the power to empower them. Managing means showing leadership. Great leaders show you the path, focus on your purpose and support you to develop skills to tackle obstacles. And remember: Millennials have a different way of saying things: we just need to listen more closely. If they say the want to be a manager: it is because they have an unsustainable drive to grow. Not because they’re hungry for power.

(1) https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf







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