For the past several months, we have been interviewing Millennial leaders to highlight their work and gain their insights. Molly Page has told their stories well in our Millennial Momentum series, and many have good stories to tell. A great match. One that we intend to continue.

As I read through each story again, key traits emerged in what makes their leadership work. Five leadership traits pop to the top. More will develop over time, so this is a snapshot.

Leadership Across Generations

Leadership Traits from Millennials

Trait 1:  Conscious

Millennial leaders are conscious leaders. What this means is there is a certain awareness that exists. This awareness entails a reflection on self, work, and community. As a conscious leaders, Millennials think through:

  • How to lead in an engaging, meaningful way
  • What is their role and how their role needs to evolve in technically-enabled, social-empowered way
  • What is their higher purpose in their workplace and in a larger community

Within the science of leading, there is an art too. Millennials bring a greater sense of consciousness to finding the right tempo in both.

Trait 2:  Future Oriented

Millennials are future oriented. David Burstein made this point well. In the past, older generations had a more sound view of how the future would unfold. Today, Millennials are more centered in what the future will look like. Maybe that is what scares older generations the most. They fear being skipped over for younger generational leaders. And, within here, is the purpose of this blog – crossing the gap to create a better leadership story, together.

We are stronger together, tying experience with outlook and using both to lead forward.

Trait 3:  Transparent

Transparency is the new, new way to lead with trust. Today’s social world exposes all leadership failings and successes. Social media is the newspaper and the police. While social channels expose issues and lapses in leadership, others enforce accountability. Equally important, social channels highlight what is good in people and how leaders are being trustworthy, results-oriented, and effective.

Complete, immediate transparency is the new world to lead within and Millennials are embracing this trait.

Trait 4:  Collaborative

Millennial leaders are collaborative. In what I have seen, Millennials are willing to work across the generational stereotypes and recognize the value of what people can bring to the table of ideas, innovation, and solutions. Age is not a trait, in the eyes of Millennials. Bringing people together to solve problems and create a better future state for organizations, customers, and communities is what Millennials leaders want to do.

A collaborative leader will solve more than a self-centered leader and Millennials know this.

Trait 5:  Problem-solving

Related to the Millennial collaborative trait is an embedded view of “let’s solve this.” Good leaders solve problems. Great leaders create an environment in which teams solve problems. Millennial leaders have the view of change to make things better and to, once and for all, solve nagging issues bogged down in politics instead of possibility.

These are the five traits I see in the Millennial leaders we have interviewed. More will develop, as it should for all generations. The day we stop learning is the day we stop advancing in positive ways.

What have you learned from Millennials? What traits encourage you the most?


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