Say the word Millennial and you’re likely to get a wide range of emotional responses. Talking about this generation is about as divisive a subject as politics or religion. Whether you love them, hate them or are indifferent about them, you can’t ignore them.
Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 2000 and like it or not, they are our future leaders. Much has been said about their weaknesses, so I won’t delve into them here. I’d rather point out some of their strengths and therefore reasons we should be optimistic about our future in their hands.
What are their strengths?
Even though Millennials stress individuality, they know how to work on a team due to their schools assigning them group projects and their involvement in their community. Being part of a think tank or team is expected in many work environments, so Millennials are able to jump right in and be comfortable with the process.
Their schooling is more rigorous than what their parents/grandparents experienced due to continual technological advances, the latest information at their fingertips and global competitive expectations. Therefore, they come into the workforce armed with a wealth of knowledge to contribute to their careers.
They want to make their own decisions and many have an entrepreneurial spirit. A recent survey showed that roughly 70 percent of Millennials see themselves as working independently at some point, rather than being employed at a traditional company. As an entrepreneur, I respect and value this strength.
Millennials can communicate with friends over social media, hold a conversation face-to-face, and enjoy a Youtube video clip all at the same. They are familiar with multiple communication methods. Therefore, they aren’t likely to stress out when they are expected to juggle multiple assignments and adapt to changes which are highly beneficial strengths.
They are aware that their experiences, values and beliefs are not universal and consequently are willing to expand their views of the world. They are out of the box thinkers who question traditional methods and look for ways to improve. This is beneficial in marketing, innovation and creativity.
Millennials understand the importance of keeping up with the latest technological advances. They are very proficient with continually learning about and incorporating the latest technology into their projects.
Millennials value purpose over salary and want to work for organizations that prioritize social responsibility. They desire jobs that not only use their skills/talents, but also inspire them. They also want work-life balance which allows them to spend quality time away from work, thereby, creating more fulfillment and decreasing burn-out. I admire that they believe in their ability to really make a difference in the world.
My last-born child Steven was born in 1980, so one of my children is a Millennial. I see so many positive attributes and leadership qualities in him. Yes, the future is uncertain, but I’m hopeful that it’s in good hands with the Millennials leading the way.