04. August 2015 · Comments Off on Millennials, Leadership, and Communication · Categories: Uncategorized


Rex Huppke, of the Chicago Tribune, came out with an article highlighting the growing interest the Millennial generation has in leadership opportunities. One challenge that this generation faces is how to communicate. Effective communication is a key characteristic of valuable leadership.

Here are some important facts from the article:

  • A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data now shows that 1 in 3 current U.S. workers are Millennials (adults in the age range of 18 to 34)
  • The Millennials are now the largest segment of the US workforce
  • WorkplaceTrends.com, a research group, and Virtuali, a leadership training firm, conducted the “Millennial Leadership Study.”
  • What were some of the key results of the Millennial Leadership Study?
    1. 91% of Millennials aspire to be leaders
    2. 43% of those wanting to be leaders cited “empowering others to succeed” as their primary motivation for entering leadership
    3. 5% of those wanting to be leaders cited money as their primary motivation
    4. 1% of those wanting to be leaders cited power as their primary motivation
    5. 58% believe that communication is the most important leadership skill
    6. 51% believe that communication is one of their strongest skills
  • What is the concern?
    1. Millennial communication is overly reliant on electronic communication (i.e. text messaging, Face Time, Skype, etc.). Check out the excellent quote by Dan Schwabel in Huppke’s article. Many of the Millennials grew up as digital natives so electronic communication became second nature for them.
    2. Millenials, however, do believe that in-person meetings, phone calls, and “soft skills” are the most important skills for leadership.
    3. Millennials believe that their strongest communication skills are in-person, telephone, and other “soft skills”.
    4. While work communication is increasingly technologically focused, “we’re a long way from personal interaction being irrelevant.”
    5. Millennials face a learning curve with regards to learning to effectively communicate in the non-electronic environment.
    6. The great news is that Millennials want to learn to be better communicators.
  • What are some possible ways Millennials can learn to be better communicators? Sean Graber of Virtuali noted the following:
    1. Workplace training opportunities (i.e. workshops) and workplace experiences (transfer to another part of the organization to get another perspective, an international posting can do this effectively)
    2. Providing Millennials with mentors
    3. Millennials need to be open to feedback
    4. Millennials need to develop time for self reflection and cultivating emotional intelligence
  • What can workplace veterans do to help Millennials with their communication? Huppke notes the following:
    1. Teach them
    2. Give them experiences they can build on
    3. Encourage them to turn away from electronic devices and look inward
  • Huppke’s final words are worth repeating: “The Millennials want to do good, and companies would be foolish not to harness that desire. If they want to lead, let them lead. Just show them how to do it right.”

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