Posted On February 11, 2016

tablet with graph laynig on table

As a cohort, this generation crave leadership status. A recent survey of Millennials by Virtuali found that over 70 percent consider themselves a leader – whether it’s in their job title or not – and 96 percent aspire to be leaders in their careers.

Sound like a case of big egos in those with relatively little experience? Maybe not. The path to leadership starts at school. From as early as Primary school, children are consulted on how the school functions, how it interacts with their community and how issues are resolved on the playground. So they already have some basic exposure to leadership by the time they hit the workforce.

Why the hurry to lead?

Millennials want to lead so they can inspire others and make a difference – it comes from the heart. The financial requirements of previous generations is further down on their list of motivations.

But it seems that many businesses have been slow to understand this and caused their Millennial staff great frustration in their attempts to have a positive influence. These businesses are missing out on a huge opportunity to fill their talent gaps and can end up losing these bright minds to more accommodating organisations.

How good is your organisation at developing your own future leaders?

You might be surprised to hear what your younger employees think.

The 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey of 7,800 graduate Millennials across the world found that only 28 percent felt their current organisation was making full use of their skills.

And it’s not just the employees looking to step up that are feeling frustrated. The Virtuali survey discovered that 64 percent of current Millennial leaders felt unprepared when stepping into the role. Further down the track, they still had difficulties with some of the more challenging leadership skills like managing difficult people and resolving conflict.

That’s not surprising considering 24 percent of the Millennials surveyed had had no leadership development training in the last year, and only half of those who did were happy with the quality of the training.

So there’s a great opportunity for organisations to provide dedicated training to grow their Millennial talent and a forum for them to be heard. This will in turn help ease the burden of retention and engagement on the business.

But what’s the best way to go about that?

Give Millennials the skills they want in the way they want

Younger team members will absorb information and knowledge better if you approach the learning delivery in a different way.

  • Flexible, mixed training

Traditional formal training methods like sitting in a classroom being lectured day after day won’t cut the mustard with Millennials.

They have short attention spans and love instant results – they’re looking for variety and flexibility in the way they pick up new skills.

Don’t get me wrong, they love to learn, but in a way that engages them and gives them a holistic experience. For example, Millennials are leading the charge in informal and social learning. Not surprising when you consider their affinity with social networks and all things online.

  • Use of technology

As I mentioned, Millennials love their technology.

They’re inseparable from their devices in and out of the office and expect to use all kinds of technology to help them do their jobs.

The same goes for learning. You need to meet them where they are. That means engaging them online or at least through a screen of sorts.

  • Experiences, not lessons

Millennials love experiential learning – that is, active learning by doing. Wrapping them in a learning world of training, practice in the workplace, mentoring and collaboration and giving them opportunities to make a difference across the organisation will give the best learning outcomes.

What’s the complete learning solution?

Couple the opportunity to learn and advance with technology and collaboration and you’ll hit the right chord with your younger employees. To really give them a solid foundation in leadership and management, you can’t ignore the power of a formal qualification.

Take a look at our blended Diploma of Leadership and Management and Certificate IV in Leadership and Management. They’ve been designed to impart the skills to lead in an engaging, flexible and holistic manner.

Incorporate these programs in their development plans along with exposure across the business and you’ll be providing the right opportunities for your new leaders in waiting.