2016 Leadership Trends: Help Your Business Attract and Keep Millennials

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In this recent blog post, I shared a compilation of research on how leadership is changing.  A trend was very evident that leaders are being expected to demonstrate a collaborative and empathetic leadership style.  Leadership trends are evidence of changes usually driven for a reason.

It seems evident that one of the driving forces for leadership changes has to do with the world’s changing demographics.  Millennials (20-34 year olds) have recently become the largest demographic in the workplace.  According the US Census Bureau Millennials make up 32.0% of the labor force, compared to 31.2% for Gen Xers and 30.6% for Boomers.  And it is well known, Millennials have their own unique  way of operating, as with all generations.

If you are currently leading a team or business, you need to understand what Millennials are all about.  A new trend report compiled by Deloitte offers some of the most up to date insight and practical ideas for understanding what is important to your emerging leaders.

As you reflect on this excerpt below, consider this leadership trend regarding how leaders are expected to be collaborative and empathetic:

Millennials are more likely to report high levels of satisfaction where there is a creative, inclusive working culture (76%) rather than a more authoritarian, rules-based approach (49%).  More specifically, in organizations with high levels of employee satisfaction, Millennials have a much greater tendency to report:

  • Open and free-flowing communication (47% versus 26% where employee satisfaction is low);
  • A culture of mutual support and tolerance (42% versus 25%);
  • A strong sense of purpose beyond financial success (40% versus 22%);
  • The active encouragement of ideas among all employees (38% versus 21%);
  • A strong commitment to equality and inclusiveness (36% versus 17%); and
  • Support and understanding of the ambitions of younger employees (34% versus 15%)”



If you don’t think it is a big deal to address the generational differences in the workplace, you will either cause interference to the efforts others in your company are trying to do to deal with this or simply cause your company to miss a huge opportunity by not doing anything about this. I say this because I know many senior leaders who haven’t bought into this and think the Millennials just need to jump on board with the Boomer values.


Take a look at your leadership style.  Even if you don’t lead a lot of Millennials today, you likely will soon.  Is your natural tendency to be collaborative and empathetic?  Not everyone’s is.  In fact, neuroscience research shows that many leaders are more hard wired to naturally focus on results over relationships and when the results focused regions of the brain are turned on, the relationship focused region is turned off.  This is referred to as a neural see saw and explains why some leaders fail.  This doesn’t mean the brain can’t be trained to be more balanced, but it does mean it takes practice.  Some ideas for creating balance can be found here. Keeping in mind these leadership trends in 2016 can help you hold on to those emergent leaders.


Take a moment and download Deloitte’s survey and have a discussion with your HR and leadership team how this insight matches to your current experience with Millennials. How is your culture taking steps to ensure you are doing what you can to meet their needs?


Deloiite’s survey says, “Millennials fully appreciate that leadership skills are important to business and recognize that, in this respect, their development may be far from complete. But, based on the current results, Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.” How well is your company doing in developing your future leaders? Check out ways to develop your future leaders based on some recent neuroscience research.

Download this new leadership role transition expert guide to help those new millennials entering into a new position.

Each generation contributes different ways of seeing the world. How can your harness the way you leverage this unique time in history with 4 generations in the workplace to ensure the younger generation has what it takes to take over leading a world filled with more complexity than ever?

How has your workplace shifted with Millennials entering the space? 

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