After graduating from the Leadership Minor last fall and nearly completing my undergraduate degree in Human Resource Development at the University of Minnesota, I have been thinking about how I can use what I’ve learned in the classroom and transfer that to my future workplace. What should a millennial emerging leader possess in order to succeed in the workforce? After wrestling with this topic for a while, I’ve compiled the top three leadership qualities I feel millennial emerging leaders should have in order to find success in the workplace.
1). Know your weaknesses. Play to your strengths.
One thing I’ve noticed about my generation is that everyone is focused on what they lack. When exams are returned, everyone is looking at what they didn’t get right or what they didn’t know. The same can be said about social media, where we tend to focus on what we don’t look like or don’t have. Our weaknesses define us, right? Wrong. In order to step into a leadership role, emerging leaders must know what they are good at and where their strengths lie. Playing to your strengths is a form of self-awareness, and the most memorable leaders I have interacted with know what they’re capable of. Once you understand where your value lies, you’ll have a better chance of successfully leading others.
2). Challenge the hierarchy.
Millennials are often told when we begin a new position at a new company, we’re considered the grunts, the bottom-feeders. While hierarchies and seniority exist, we shouldn’t discount the talents we uniquely bring to the table. Millennials are tech-savvy, innovative, and mission-driven—which gives us an edge in the workplace and makes us incredibly useful. By challenging the norms of existing hierarchies, millennials can act as leaders in company culture by creating new spaces for communication, collaboration, and breakthroughs.
3). Embrace the ambiguity.
The most useful lesson learned from the Leadership Minor is the importance of embracing ambiguity when it comes your path. Much of my academic career has been outlined for me—from syllabi and curriculum to course requirements—but what happens when you enter the workplace and a supervisor gives you task with little to no explanation? Leaders look at ambiguity as an opportunity, and the opportunities are many. You can expand your problem-solving toolkit, build confidence by leaving your comfort zone, or learn to collaborate and self-motivate. An opportunity to feel comfortable dealing with uncertainty. In other words: there is no growth in the comfort
Leadership Delta is about more than transforming and optimizing today’s leaders and teams; it’s also about creating strategies and environment that will foster the teams of tomorrow. As millennials continue to reach new heights in the corporate world, it’s more important than ever to maximize the next generation of leaders and strivers.
Sydney Hines guest wrote the blog about millennial success in the workforce from her point of view. She is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota and currently interns for Laura Boyd.
Laura Boyd has over 20 years of experience working with organizations to help them develop sustainable growth as organizations and the people within. She has been a leader on executive teams for large companies, emerging companies and non-profits, as well as, a business owner. She believes Leadership is the ultimate Delta for change, strategy and growth in an organization. She is now taking her years of experience helping businesses become high performance organizations.
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