How to Train Millennial Leaders

millennial leaders in the workplace

Modern companies are quickly realizing just how important it is to restructure their workplace to accommodate the needs of Millennials, which is now the largest generation in the global workforce. Some businesses are creating more flexible work options and schedules, while others are building stronger company culture and offering more resources for maintaining mental health. 

However, there’s something lacking when it comes to workplace opportunities to expand this group’s leadership skills. In fact, of the Millennials who intend to leave their jobs within the next two years, 71% of them report that they are unhappy with the leadership training and opportunities offered at their current job. 

Perhaps this lack of opportunities for leadership comes from the oft-perpetuated stereotype that Millennials don’t care about climbing the corporate ladder. But even in cases where that’s true, leadership opportunities exist on many levels within a single company, and more and more Millennials are aching for the chance to be in charge. What’s more, Millennials who are given opportunities to grow into company leaders will be far less likely to leave their jobs after just a few short years.  

Here are some tips for how your business can gain a cutting edge against the competition by offering better leadership training and skill-building resources for your Millennial workforce:

1. Match Them Up with a Mentor

Consider first allowing your non-leader Millennial employees to soak up all the leadership skills they can from your more experienced staff members. Match up your Millennial workers with mentor leaders within the company and allow them to practice some of the tasks your leaders do on a daily basis.

By matching your Millennial team members up with more experienced leaders, you take advantage of the leadership skill sets and practice that you already have within the company. This kind of program will not only help your non-leader Millennial staff develop skills that will make them better in their current roles, but it will also help them become more equipped to handle greater responsibility in the future. Mentor programs lend very well to promoting from within when new leadership positions become available. With this kind of prospect, it’s highly likely that fewer Millennial employees will plan to leave your company after only one or two years.

2. Let Them Practice Failure

It’s difficult to allow your employees to fail, especially when it directly impacts your company’s success. However, if you can afford it, allowing your employees to take on challenging tasks and sometimes fail at them can lend itself to quick learning. 

By providing your Millennial employees leadership opportunities that extend beyond their current abilities, you challenge them to expand their skill sets and learn at a fast pace. You show them that you see their potential and expect them to rise to the occasion when leadership opportunities present themselves, even if they are beyond the employee’s typical scope.

Offering these kinds of opportunities to your Millennial employees will furthermore increase their ability to handle failure and work through it appropriately, which is one of the main traits of a successful leader. 

3. Capitalize on Their Strengths

It’s true that great leaders don’t need to be good at everything, but everyone is good at something. By capitalizing on the current strengths of your non-leader Millennial employees, you can put them in appropriate leadership roles where they can continue to hone those strengths while also learning new skills. 

Allow your Millennial employees to fill leadership roles that fit their personalities and allow them to manage teams they work well with. That’s not to say you shouldn’t put them somewhat outside of their comfort zone—as we’ve discussed, unfamiliar tasks can give your new Millennial leaders the chance to fail and learn from their failures. But by surrounding them with a team that supports them, they can achieve more positive growth as they approach new responsibilities and learn from their mistakes. 

Also, before you hire your Millennial workforce, also be sure that you have conducted employment background checks to verify that each candidate has the education and skills necessary to be molded into a leader, even if they don’t have all the skills of leadership just yet.

As you follow these tips for developing stronger leadership opportunities for your Millennial staff, your team is sure to soar to new heights in 2020. You’ll likely find that your focus on Millennial employees’ needs and desires to grow into great leaders will yield not only greater staff loyalty and increased productivity but also a company leadership that is a force to be reckoned with.