You’ve probably heard it many times: Millennials are now the largest share of the US workforce.  In fact, one in three workers are Millennials. While the focus of the last decade has been on understanding and managing Millennials, we’re beginning to see an important shift. As thousands of Baby Boomers retire each day the critical conversation is now about how to equip your Millennials to lead and how to effectively transition them into leadership roles. The goal is to fill your leadership pipeline with future executives.

Passivity invites peril.
You can’t afford to ignore the development of your Millennials! There’s too much to lose in the long run. But, if you get deliberate about this now, you’ll have a distinct advantage over your competitors. Here are two benefits to investing in their development now.

  1. Personal growth that’s committed to the future.
    Employees, especially Millennials, consider training to be a meaningful benefit. Providing leadership development and career path options demonstrates you’re invested in their growth for the future, not just for the tasks they’re assigned to today. It exemplifies the very forward thinking you hope they will exercise themselves as leaders in the future.
  2. Retention throughout the organization.The primary reason people leave a job isn’t the job, it’s the boss! Managers who have developed skills in self-awareness, communication, delegation, and leading teams are the kind of leaders who engage team members. Preparing managers to be effective in these areas creates an environment where good people want to give their best work over a longer period of time.

So, what do you do?

Here are four key actions toward ensuring you develop the best leaders for the future of your organization:

  1. Select them intentionally
    Not everyone is cut out for management. Not everyone is cut out to lead your organization’s culture. How can you minimize the effects of personal bias to make superior hiring and promotion decisions? Use a valid, reliable assessment. A quality assessment can provide deep insight into a person’s values, leadership strengths, and potential de-railers that may not show up in an interview.
  2. Train them to lead
    Accelerate Millennials’ progress through the learning curve by developing intrapersonal and interpersonal skills like self-awareness and relationship building. Edify their ability to lead local and virtual teams. This can be cultivated through formal training, coaching, mentoring, or best of all, a combination of methods.
  3. Let them practice
    Create stretch assignments for emerging leaders to take the lead on initiatives. Give them access to a good mentor, freedom to fumble, and an environment where question asking is respected. Give them praise when they demonstrate growth.
  4. Provide consistent feedback from varying points of view
    Millennials love feedback. A quality feedback system improves performance. Implement a 360 evaluation process so young leaders can receive feedback from reports, peers, clients and managers. Provide coaching on the feedback, then re-measure 6-9 months later to see where they’ve made improvements.

The winning organizations of tomorrow will be those who prepare their leaders today.
Don’t wait to begin planning the development of your Millennials.

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