Leading the Way: Insights from Millennial Leaders in Action

Leadership In Action: A Millennial Perspective Banner Image

Navigating the complex landscape of effective leadership is an ongoing challenge, with various perspectives on it emphasizing traits, behaviors, influence, interaction patterns, and administrative roles of a leader. When considering generational differences, the intricacies of effective leadership become even more pronounced.

In the present era, the dominant millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, is reshaping the workforce with unprecedented expectations and unique leadership skills. Unlike their predecessors, millennials are witnessing advancements that were once inconceivable. The younger generations constantly grapple with monumental disruptions and paradigm shifts, their perceptions of leadership are inevitably brought into focus. These changes not only influence their thinking but also profoundly shape their emotions governing their view on their leaders. Rather than resisting this shift in mindset, it’s crucial for us to embrace and comprehend their perspective and nurture the leaders within.

What words do Millennials and Generation Z use to characterize leadership? What qualities and characteristics should an effective leader associate with? And, crucially, what behaviors do these groups anticipate from their leaders? Join us as we unravel these questions, provide solutions while uncovering the evolving landscape of leadership through the eyes of the millennial generation.


Recognizing the intricacies of millennial perspectives is pivotal for effective leadership. Establishing a robust connection as a leader involves adhering to key principles. Here is a Millennial cheat sheet if you will, a set of rules that would help you get a better picture on the mindset of a millennial.

Rule 1:

Demonstrate Genuine Care: Millennials prioritize authentic care over a mere display of knowledge. To earn their trust and attention, it’s crucial for a leader to express a sincere interest in their personal and professional development. Fostering trust requires delving into the personal lives of your millennial employee, allowing them to share private aspects. For millennials, building a connection extends beyond the professional realm, forming the bedrock of effective leadership.

Rule 2:

Cater to Diverse Learning Styles: Acknowledging distinct learning preferences is essential, irrespective of the generation. While presenting information to the entire team might be convenient as a leader, some individuals thrive in small group discussions or one-on-one learning. Adapting your style to accommodate diverse learning approaches fosters genuine understanding and cultivates a good leadership quality, leading to a productive learning atmosphere. Recognizing the importance of firsthand experiences for conceptual clarity as a leader is integral to embracing diverse learning styles.

Rule 3:

Illuminate the ‘Why’ Behind Work: Embracing Simon Sinek’s ‘why’ concept resonates profoundly with millennials, influencing leadership aspirations. Millennials seek a profound understanding of their purpose and aspire to contribute to a larger cause. As a leader, guiding them to unveil their ‘why’ is paramount. Every role within an organization holds the potential for a sense of purpose; the key for a leader lies in investing time to unearth and convey this to their millennial team. President Kennedy’s interaction with a custodian at NASA during the race to the moon exemplifies the potency of instilling a meaningful ‘why’ in leadership—the custodian perceived his role as contributing to the historic. When asked by President Kennedy what he was doing, the man replied, “Working to put a man on the moon sir!” For a leader, grasping and articulating this sense of purpose is fundamental to leadership, effectively engaging millennials.

Now that we have briefly discussed what millennials demand and look up to in their leader, let us first recall the qualities and characteristics of a good traditional leader.


Qualities of good leadership is something that has been discussed and studied by professionals since time immemorial. In the past, while dissecting the qualities and characteristics of a commendable leader, various key themes emerged that characterized effective leadership in action.

Lead and Influence as a Keystone:

If one word were to encapsulate the essence of effective leadership traditionally, it would have been “influence.” Beyond influence, a leader’s ability to discern individual differences and navigate diverse personalities played a pivotal role in leadership role.

Lead by Example:

Effective leaders were those who exemplify the principles they advocate. The notion of leading by example was understanding and knowing your team to guide and lead them effectively. It was, and is still to this date, a key to traditional good leadership value.

Vision and Recognition from The Leader:

Effective leaders are visionaries, possessing humility, and acknowledging the value of every team member. Recognizing contributions, having clear expectations, and rallying the team toward common goals.

The Leader nurtures Trust, Transparency, and Timing:

In the past, as is now, trust was paramount, and a good leader would build it by being transparent, encouraging, and discerning when to share information. Balancing forthrightness with strategic withholding, knowing the right time for discipline or encouragement, and directing operations effectively differentiated good leadership from bad.

Communication, Delegation, and Knowledgeability of The Leader:

Effective communication, delegation, and a solid understanding of what needed to be done characterized a good leader of the past. The leader is to be hands-on, a good communicator, and knowledgeable in guiding the team for effective leadership.

The Leader Must Have Empathy, Mentorship, and Continuous Learning:

A leader’s effectiveness used to lie in empathy, mentorship, and a commitment to continuous learning. Understanding employees, keeping up with their lives, and participating in the journey from the bottom to the top.

In weaving together these diverse perspectives, a comprehensive view of the qualities and characteristics of a good leader emerges, highlighting its nuanced and multifaceted nature. While these qualities still hold weight and importance in modern times, the intricacies of technological advancement, and its influence on the current generation have furthered their viewpoint on leadership in the millennial era.

Leadership "What do Millennials Want in a Leader"



Understanding the expectations millennials harbor regarding leadership is crucial for fostering a harmonious and productive work environment. Here are some key principles that guide what millennials seek in a leader:

Sense of Purpose and Fulfillment:

Millennials are drawn to leaders who align each role within the organization with a broader, shared mission. Effective leadership involves encouraging teams to work towards goals that extend beyond individual achievements. Assigning roles based on a shared mission contributes to a sense of purpose and fulfillment among employees.

Trustworthy and Authentic Traits:

Trust is paramount for millennials, and leaders embodying honesty, integrity, respect, and social responsibility are perceived as trustworthy and an authentic leadership quality.

Encouraging Creativity and Innovation:

Millennial leaders foster environments that encourage creativity, innovation, and the embrace of diverse perspectives. This approach stimulates growth and dynamism within the team. And makes up for effective leadership.

Acknowledgment of Life Outside of Work:

Effective leaders recognize the importance of employees’ lives beyond the workplace. Addressing concerns related to family, medical insurance, and parental leave demonstrates an understanding of the broader context and the employee’s need for a good work-life balance.

Attention to Individuality, not a Group:

Millennials appreciate leaders who see them as individuals with unique needs and aspirations rather than treating them as part of a collective entity. Acknowledging individuality is one of the most important steps for good leadership, fostering a sense of personal connection and value.

Value-Centered Leadership:

Millennials advocate for leaders who prioritize values. They appreciate leaders committed to inclusivity, collaboration, and a shared sense of purpose. A good leader is one who is empathetic, listens actively, is self-aware, and possesses a pulse on his millennial team’s dynamics.

Supportive and Achievement-Oriented Styles:

Millennials desire supportive leaders who employ achievement-oriented and participative styles. These styles set high standards, involve team members in decision-making, and foster a collaborative and empowering atmosphere.

Fostering a Community for Common Goals:

Leadership, according to millennials, involves using social capital to influence others toward a common goal. Leaders are seen as passionate individuals fostering a community where trust is paramount, and everyone feels confident in approaching the leader.

Inspiration and Mentorship:

Being looked up to and inspiring others are vital aspects of leadership for millennials. A good leader not only leads effectively but also mentors others, encouraging them to develop leadership skills.

Value-Centered Leadership:

Millennials advocate for leaders who prioritize values. They appreciate leaders committed to inclusivity, collaboration, and a shared sense of purpose. The significance of care is emphasized with the understanding that millennials value leaders who genuinely care about their personal and professional development. This care goes beyond professional realms, extending into their lives.

Supportive and Achievement-Oriented Styles:

Millennials desire supportive leaders who employ achievement-oriented and participative leadership styles. These styles set high standards, involve team members in decision-making, and foster a collaborative and empowering atmosphere.

Teamwork Over Authoritative Management:

A preference for teamwork over authoritative management is evident among millennials. They thrive in environments where leaders foster collaboration and seek input from team members in decision-making processes as their leadership style.

In the context of the workplace, millennials’ needs are intertwined with a quest for life purpose and fulfillment. By aligning organizational practices with these millennial leadership perspectives, companies can create work environments that attract and retain talent. Acknowledging the importance of value-centered, supportive, and inclusive leadership ensures organizations stay ahead in engaging the millennial workforce.


In the dynamic landscape of contemporary workplaces, understanding the significance of millennial perspectives on leadership becomes pivotal for fostering employee retention and satisfaction. To make sure a workforce is both talented and harmonious to the ethos of a company, various professionals and experts provide with solutions and services for hiring and recruitment. So an employer may be able to focus his attention on other important tasks. To make one understand the intricacies involved in human resource management, here’s some pointers on why you should care about an employee’s perspective:

Employee Retention and Satisfaction:

The linchpin of organizational success lies in retaining and satisfying employees. Millennials, constituting a significant portion of the workforce, bring unique expectations and preferences. Aligning leadership practices with their perspectives enhances employee engagement and loyalty amongst millennials.

Navigating Burnout and Management Dilemmas:

Many older millennials in leadership roles are grappling with the decision of whether to embrace responsibilities. Burnout, a pervasive concern, underscores the need for reevaluating traditional leadership models. Understanding millennial perspectives provides insights into redefining leadership to address burnout and management dilemmas.

Generational Diversity:

Diverse generational cohorts within the workforce demand nuanced leadership approaches. Recognizing the unique needs and wants of each generation allows organizations to tailor strategies effectively and retain talent from a wider spectrum of generations.

In Tune with Technological, Environmental, and Global Trends:

Contemporary leadership cannot exist in isolation from broader societal trends. Advancements in technology, concerns for ecological sustainability, globalization, and the semantic web are reshaping millennial perspectives. Leaders must adapt to these trends to remain relevant and impactful. And catering to the needs of the various generations present in their workforce would diversify and broaden their perspective and work culture. There are various services offered by professionals who cater to such aspects of employment so that a leader can focus on what he does best. Leading!

"Does a New Workforce Require New Leadership Style"



The Millennial Evolution of Leadership:

As the workforce undergoes significant changes, leaders are compelled to adapt to the shifting expectations and characteristics of the millennial generation. The evolution extends beyond the employee base to redefine leadership styles, rendering previously effective approaches obsolete.

Jennifer Post identifies “Five modern leadership styles” that have become essential in the contemporary business landscape for the leaders of today:

  • Innovative Leadership: Leaders focused on innovation encourage unconventional thinking and significant risk-taking. They prioritize the big picture, fostering an environment that values unorthodox approaches over strict protocols.
  • Servile Leadership: Servant leaders prioritize the happiness and success of their employees. They invest personally and professionally, employing mentorship programs, training sessions, and continuous education to support individual goals.
  • Empathetic Leadership: Empathy in leadership is gaining prominence, enhancing workplace culture and productivity. Leaders who listen and understand their employees contribute to a positive working environment.
  • Transformative Leadership: Transformative leaders inspire employees to focus on future success through innovation and real change. This style fosters autonomy, eliminates micromanaging, and emphasizes the mutual benefit of the employer-employee relationship.
  • Committed to Diversity Leadership: Leaders committed to diversity bring fresh perspectives to organizations. They actively seek diverse talent and understand that inclusivity enhances company culture and growth.

Millennials Redefining Leadership:

Millennials are “influencing leadership in seven distinct ways”, according to Kimberly Fries:

  • Willingness to Leave Unfavorable Leadership: Millennials are more willing to leave organizations with leadership that does not meet their standards.
  • Expressed Needs in Leadership Training: They express specific needs for leadership training tailored to their preferences.
  • Preference for Flat Management Structures: Millennials prefer flat management structures, avoiding navigation through multiple layers of management.
  • Value of Employee Feedback: They value leaders who actively seek feedback from all employees, fostering a culture of open communication.
  • Pushback Against Unnecessary Policies: Millennials push back against policies implemented without a clear purpose.
  • Empowerment and Transformation as Leaders: As leaders, millennials focus on empowering and transforming their teams.
  • Desire for Support, Flexibility, and Work-Life Balance: Millennials seek support, flexibility, and a healthy work-life balance from their leaders.



Companies and leaders that adapt to the expectations of the millennial workforce stand to be more successful. Embracing flexible workforces, promoting healthy communication, leading by example, and empowering employees are becoming integral to effective leadership.

The Future of Leadership Practices

With more millennials entering the workforce, further transformations in leadership practices are inevitable. The changes introduced by successful global companies signal a promising shift in leadership dynamics, aligning with the preferences of the evolving workforce.

The evolving workforce necessitates a reevaluation of leadership styles. Organizations that recognize and adapt to these changes are better positioned for success in a rapidly transforming business landscape.

Companies implementing millennial perspectives on effective leadership

As the workplace undergoes transformations influenced by millennial perspectives, several forward-thinking companies have successfully embraced these changes in leadership styles. Here are examples of companies that have implemented millennial perspectives on effective leadership:

  • Goldman Sachs: Goldman Sachs prioritizes the development of effective Leadership through a focus on “Producer Managers.” These are individuals who have rapidly advanced through the ranks as individual contributors.
  • Google: Google exemplifies the millennial perspective by fostering a flexible work environment that emphasizes healthy communication, leading by example, and employee empowerment.
  • Deloitte: Deloitte has introduced the “Millennial Impact” program, concentrating on engaging millennials in the workplace. The initiative includes leadership development, mentorship, and community involvement.
  • PwC: PwC has implemented the “Millennials at Work” program, which focuses on understanding the needs and expectations of millennials. The program encompasses leadership development, mentorship, and flexible work arrangements.
  • Salesforce: Salesforce’s “Futureforce” program engages millennials in the workplace, incorporating leadership development, mentorship, and community involvement.



These companies serve as examples of successful integration of millennial perspectives into their leadership strategies. Their proactive approaches not only attract and retain millennial talent but also contribute to the overall success and adaptability of the organizations in a rapidly changing professional landscape. Here at Jigya Softwares, we aspire for the best work environment for our workforce, so that our pool of talented youth could one day become great leaders.



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