Millennials – already leading the way?

Posted On September 17, 2013

We know they are the largest generation since the Baby Boomers and will have a significant impact on how businesses run in the future, but are Millennials already making leadership waves despite their relatively short tenure in the traditional working world?  Recent research from Deloitte India seems to indicate so.

As reported in Forbes, Deloitte India studied the work and leadership styles of Millennials in eight countries around the world.  Of the 2422 respondents, nearly half held leadership positions.  50% of Millennials are in business leadership roles?  Well, yes and no.  It all depends on how you define leadership.

For the sake of the survey, the researchers defined it as “someone with 3+ years of full-time working experience, decision-making authority and direct reports at an established organization…or leading their own organization/start-up.”  Both definitions are fascinating, when you think about it.

Back in the day a person with 3-5 years of experience would still be considered wet behind the ears, but today’s workforce is seeking (and sometimes demanding) more recognition earlier in their careers.  This is a great example of how the mentor-apprentice relationship has been flipped on its head.  Instead of watching a senior leader over many years and learning from that experience, today’s employees want to try out leadership early and make their own mistakes, find their own way.

The other definition of leader – entrepreneur – is not surprising, but its prevalence so early in the career path is a true indicator of how things have changed.  Now, innovation and entrepreneurialism have always been at the core of our business economy. What’s new today is how young professionals are quick to seek out environments where they can call the shots – it is not so much entrepreneurism for new ideas (though that certainly exists) but for self-expression and self-fulfillment.

The Deloitte India study speaks to the ways that Millennials have changed the definition of leadership, and, I believe, foreshadows how our business world will continue to shift over time.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Workplace