The millennial generation is a unique one. They tend to be characterized as innovative and fast-learners due to the way they have picked up new technologies and made these tools a part of their lives. Millennials are also known as ambitious go-getters who do not settle, they are always looking for new and exciting experiences and ways to grow. Of course, some people also say they are lazy or entitled, which may affect their ability to lead.
Whether or not company executives ascribe to any of those beliefs, there is no denying that millennials are quickly becoming dominant contributors in the work force. Citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Brookings Institute, The Tennessean recently reported that Generation Y currently accounts for approximately 24 percent of the U.S. population and will make up about 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
Grooming millennial leaders
Although most millennials are currently holding low- or mid-level positions within companies, as baby boomers begin to retire, this generation will become increasingly more present at the C-suite level. They will take on a greater number of tasks and responsibilities, and eventually become the ones guiding the corporate ship.
In fact, many Generation Y Americans are already beginning to assume leadership positions. For example, one recent report from Deloitte found that 50 percent of millennials have already assumed leader positions, despite 44 percent of these respondents having only between three and five years of experience.
The kicker is that only 36 percent of millennials actually felt ready to assume these responsibilities when being promoted, while 30 percent still do not today. Respondents said they often have issues managing difficult people or situations, do not have adequate experience or feel they have trouble dealing with conflicts. While they want more responsibilities and they desire more power within their companies, they clearly do not feel prepared to handle these situations.
Preparing millennials to assume leadership roles
In many ways, Deloitte’s research should not be surprising. Being a good leader is not an attribute most people are born with, it is something many only get through years of experience and hard training. Even for veteran leaders, dealing with difficult employees or mitigating conflicts between workers can be a time-consuming and tricky proposition. How could a young person who has only been on the job for a few years know how to do that?
However, the report should illustrate clearly that some companies are not doing all they could to prepare young employees to better lead and manage people. Leadership training can go a long way in helping to prepare millennial employees as they take on more responsibilities within the company.
Whether people are becoming chief executive officers or are simply stepping up to be project leaders, the ability to manage other workers and challenging situations is crucial to success. With the right training, however, companies can ensure their employees are on the right track, no matter their age.