8 mistakes Millennial Leaders need to avoid


One thing is for sure, Millennials will be taking over leadership positions real soon - some of them are already contributing in senior management roles - and they will only increase. Yet their journey to the top is not smooth, and not as well-defined, as their predecessor generation - the X's. It does not help that Gen Xers are still in their prime, and they are not ready to let go. This creates a tension between them and the Millennials, who are more anxious to take on larger roles and responsibilities, and are not keen to "walk the beat" as their predecessors did. And that is exactly what the Xers want from the Millennials. Hence a chasm grows.

Yet organisations cannot stop the tides of time. They need to embrace the time of the new leaders, and some of them have, only to question the validity of their decision when Millennials falter with spectacular mistakes. Needless to say, their failures have been magnified by the attention they attract. Everyone wants to see how they do and this intense scrutiny makes even the smallest mistake a big deal. But Millennials cannot let this stop them. They need to embrace the growth mindset, to learn as they do, to fail fast and fail cheap. However, Millennial Leaders need to be mindful of the mistakes that others have done before them so that they can move forward faster and cheaper. So in this article, we have compiled the top 8 mistakes that Millennial Leaders have made in the past so that you can do better going forward.

(1) Being too ambitious

Ambition is a good thing because it drives action. However, Millennial Leaders can sometimes be seen as too ambitious. They have higher expectations than the Xers, and this makes them (the Xers) uncomfortable. They start labelling Millennials as having the entitlement mindset. While this is unfair to Millennials as individuals, there is a need to understand that the path taken by the Xers is quite different from the Millennials, and the timelines that used to govern promotion for Xers may seem too long for Millennials. This normally prompts Millennials to leave the organisation just at the prime of their contribution, further putting paid the "risk" by organisations to promote Millennials into leadership in the first place. Hence, Millennial Leaders should curb their ambition, not so much in terms of actions, but in terms of voicing intent. They must let their actions speak for themselves.

(2) Being too smart

Millennials, by nature of advancement in the education system, have higher education level than Xers. They know a lot more at this time than their seniors, who are also their superiors. However, what they lack is experience, which can more than make up the difference in educational level. By using educational discourse to defend one's position, the Millennial Leader can come across as being too smart for their own good, and this contributes to the growing chasm. Millennial Leaders need to tone down their rhetoric, and not use their superior knowledge against their superiors, no matter how right they may think they are. It is not that they have to accept something that is wrong, but there are always different perspectives at work in any situation, and the lack of experience blinds the Millennial Leader to this. Hence, it is wiser not to rely too much on education, and to hear the counsel of experience. They might just learn something more!

(3) Being too confident

Relying on their superior education, Millennial Leaders can have an over-reaching sense of self-confidence. This could also be a consequence of relaxed parenting, where they as children were rewarded for simply showing up. Whatever the reason, this sense of confidence can make them foolhardy, and react to a situation without due consideration of the consequences. Millennials must learn to assess risks, and if they did not have the experience for it, then apply a robust process.

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(4) Being too fixated on one solution

The education system has taught our children to take a position and develop the case for it. This has made our Millennial Leaders fixated on solving a problem along one track only. By not considering other options, or seeing the validity of different ways of getting things done, the Millennial Leader can be perceived as being too stubborn. The fact of the matter is that they were taught to be like this, and now they fa