Seven Main Ways Millennials are Changing the Definition of Leadership in 2020

Contributed article in our business series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

Millennials are “rebellious path-breakers” who shun everything traditional and believe in making their path. And over the years, it is the millennials have collectively transformed the way we communicate and conduct business.

This is the generation that reconciles logic and emotions. The millennials are both educated and empathic, and they want to make the world a better place. And it is this optimism that reflects the way they lead business ventures as well.

Here are seven ways in which Millennials are redefining leadership in 2020


Personalised Professional Workplaces

Gone are the days when people separated their personal and professional spaces. The millennial work culture is more flexible, intuitive, and interactive. And the office spaces and workstations are an extension of this attitude.

Most of the start-ups that we see around have a very vibrant, friendly vide to it. Even big shot corporations like Google have incorporated the millennial culture. A millennial leader is not dogmatic or dominating. Instead, they focus on building a personal connection with their team.

However, that being said, millennial work culture also stresses on work-life balance. Effective time management, flexible working hours, home-based working options are more prevalent than ever.

Transformations > Transactional Leadership

Business students often learn about the different types of leadership theories as part of their curriculum. From the Great Man Theory to the Transformational leadership alternatives- a lot has changed over the years.

The millennials, for instance, don’t believe leadership to be an innate trait but something which can be acquired and improved upon. Hence, the leader is less authoritative and more cooperative. And the modern-day leadership can be divided into two main sections- transformation and transactional.

Transactional leadership works on incentives and monetary perks. Here, the leader offers bonuses and other forms of rewards to encourage better performance in the employees. Transformational leadership, on the other hand, deals with a more abstract, idealistic approach.

A transformational leader would try to encourage their team through motivation, praise, and genuine efforts. They lead by example, focusing on skill development and building the team’s morale.  

Transformational leadership is far more successful in the long-run, and millennials are turning towards this leadership style. This leadership style has revolutionized the employee-employer relationship. Marketers and MBA grads often refer to popular business case studies on the same for inspiration on how to tackle situations within the workspace. 


Democratic office culture

The professional space is more open and democratic than before. This means that everyone in the office now has a say and can voice their opinion. The millennial work culture is flexible, open to ideas and encourages creative solutions.

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the millennial leader would be democratic in their approach. They would be open to multiple perspectives and encourage the team to come up with unique solutions instead of merely the following lead.

This means the work culture is more dynamic and fun. The millennial leadership is a far cry from the conventional workplace practices where the boss is always right. Here, we see a lot of brainstorming sessions and focus on skill development.

Dismantling Workplace Hierarchies

Earlier, every workplace functioned in a standard way, where there were multiple levels of managers and low-level clerks. An employee had to make their way up the grapevine to reach the top management and get their point across. This made the workspace more opaque and far more complicated.

Under the millennial leadership, these hierarchies are non-existent. The start-up culture has only added to this trend. It is easier for a fresher to reach out to the founders and communicate over a transparent channel.

The millennial leader focuses on team building activities where the team meets and interacts outside the workspace as well. So, there are a lot of extracurricular activities and workshops to enhance the team’s coordination, analytical and problem-solving skills.


Subverting the Boss-Employee Relationship

In the millennial work culture, the relationship between the boss and the employee is not the same. Here, the boss, though a figure of authority, is not always right. A millennial leader doesn’t believe in forcing others to follow their lead. Instead, they encourage those on board to take the initiative and come up with unique solutions.

In millennial leadership, the team members have the liberty to question the decisions and decision-making process. Thanks to the changing societal outlook, millennial workspaces are also more inclusive and tolerant.

The leader tries to ensure the physical, mental, and psychological wellness of their employees. This includes conversations on mental health, having strict rules against workplace discrimination and harassment and other initiatives.  

The Robust and Instant Feedback System

One of the most defining aspects of millennial leadership is- its accessible and transparent feedback system. Earlier, the team members had little to no chances of reaching the top management levels in the organisation. And this made communication very ineffective and tardy

Under the current leadership roles taken by millennials, this chain has reduced considerably. This doesn’t mean that there is a lack of professionalism within the workspace. On the contrary, communication up to and down the grapevine is quicker and more value-driven

Ventures encourage team members to give their feedback, review peers and even drop in suggestions for alternative solutions. Under the millennial leadership, everyone has a fair shot at making themselves heard.


Social flexibility

The millennial generation grew up in an era of the internet. So, social media was a massive part of our lives. The millennial leader, therefore, depends on technology to speed things up within the organisation.

Personal brand building and social media presence are essential factors for the modern millennial leader. Entrepreneurs want to create a separate brand image, outside of work and share a slice of their activities with the workforce.

And with the rising popularity of social media marketing, things have gotten a lot more interesting. People prefer to connect and look up their peers on social media. This improves personal connections and expands its network.

The Bottom Line

Yes, the market is no longer a stagnant space ruled by a few big shot corporations. Today, we have a more diversified platform where every business venture has a fair shot to success. And the rise in e-commerce has only added on to the market’s flexible. All you need is an idea and an internet connection.

The millennial generation has a huge role to play in this change. Their leadership attitude is more focused, emphatic, and tolerant. Millennials look for sustainable solutions that go a long way to ensure holistic development.

Author Bio: With years of experience in digital marketing, Bella helps university students crack HR assignments so that they can meet the desired learning objectives of their business management course. She has also co-founded Top My Grades to help students with career counseling. Beyond work, you can find her digging into the upcoming trends in online marketing.

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