How Millennials are Changing Conventional Leadership


Time is running out and we need to act fast! Reviewing the old school leadership style has become the need of the hour in the workplace. Millennials are no longer the youngest generation in the workplace. Over the past decade they have been undergoing a transformation in their behaviour, attitude, approach and preferences at work.

Consequently and whether we like it or not, millennials have a massive hand in shaping the workplace culture too.

Millennials– also popularly known as Generation (Gen) Y are those individuals who were born between the early 1980s – late 1990s. In most parts of the world including India, Gen Y are known to have a great familiarity with technology, all things digital as well as a good command over communication tools.

Whether they are holding leadership positions or reporting to a leader in the workplace, they are surely influencing and changing the traditional leadership style in several ways.

Millennials are more comfortable in the Participative Leadership style

Out goes the Authoritarian leadership style where leaders tell the employees exactly what they want without any input or participation from the employees. Millennials reject this type of dictatorship, as it doesn’t allow any involvement on their behalf.

In a Participative Leadership style, most of the authority is given to the team, even though the manager remains the leader. Millennials leaders are also more comfortable in a Participative style, where team members are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions and bring their individual creativity to the fore. 

Generation Y want to be empowered in the workplace

Far from micromanagement, Gen Y wants to be empowered to take decisions and actions in the workplace, for the benefit of the business and its clients. Millennial are far more curious and prefer to be engaged in areas such as company policy formulation. They are also comfortable in challenging leadership decisions where they have not been involved.

Millennials consider constructive feedback as a tool for their growth and development

Gone are the days when employees would fear being reprimanded for performance by their leader. Receiving constructive criticism often had a negative connotation to it as well as linked to under performance and failure.

Generation Y welcome feedback with open arms. They use it as a tool for growth and improvement. They therefore ask for feedback on a regular basis, using it to their advantage. Those in leadership roles are also happy to give feedback, both constructive and appreciative; with a large focus on ‘how’ the message is being delivered to the employee.

Moreover feedback is not only given from leader to employee, but also vice versa as well as from one colleague to the other.

Millennials are beginning to form a large part of the workforce and we will ultimately need to change our leadership style to be at par with the moving times. 

Generation Y may form part of your business’s top talent and in order to retain them, how quickly are you willing to review your organization’s conventional leadership style? 

Author– Sannah Ali is a Leadership Trainer & Coach based out of Kolkata, India. She currently conducts workshops on leadership, culture building and soft skills with strong background in Human Resources and a forte in Learning and Development. She has worked with International brands such as Marks & Spencer; London; UK and Victoria’s Secret, UK. And she has done her Masters in Science in Human Resource Management from Brunel University, London, UK.



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