One Looming Problem for Millennials in Organizations


Businesses around the world are falling further behind in building leaders, especially when it comes to Millennial leaders.

One of the major reasons I started “Growing Leaders” in 2003, is the topic of my blog today. There’s a gigantic benefit awaiting every school and organization that figures out how to resolve this issue. If we fail, we’ll experience a downward shift in culture and productivity over the next twenty years. If we get it right, that shift will be upward and forward.

In short, I’m speaking of the urgent need to develop Millennials into leaders.

“Even as there has been an increase in leadership program spending across the world in 2015 […] the overall capability gap has grown in companies," according to research done by Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends. Their report reveals that “many companies treat leadership sporadically, confining development to a select few employees, failing to make long-term investments in leadership, and neglect[ing] a robust pipeline at all levels.”

Here’s the clincher. Businesses around the world fell further behind in building leaders, especially when it comes to Millennial leaders, who make up the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce today.

This is not a good trend.

What’s curious is—building leaders remains a top priority in 2015 among companies. “Despite the fact that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents surveyed cite the issue as important or very important, the data also suggests that organizations have made little or no progress since last year.”

Why Is This Happening?

I can only guess why seasoned executives neglect to build Millennial leaders:

  • They can’t seem to bridge the gap in their generational differences.
  • They don’t want to work hard enough to get to know the newest staff.
  • They don’t yet see the value these young team members add.
  • They intend to develop young leaders, but get caught in survival mode.

What We Must Do

If we’re going to actually practice the priority of young leader development that we claim is so important, we must implement the following three habits into our routines each week:

  1. Find a Team.

Identify who those young team members are that need to be developed; the ones who appear to have potential for growth and capacity to influence others. Make a list and don’t forget that leadership potential may disguise itself as dissatisfaction.

  1. Find a Time.

Next, you must actually set aside time to develop them each week. It cannot be an annual workshop or conference. It must be a process; time blocks inserted into your routines to review principles, host conversations and furnish experiences.

  1. Find a Tool.

Finally, choose a resource to read or digest. It can be articles, podcasts, books, or outside guests you interview. Using tools like these allows you to be systematic, transferrable and sustainable. Young leaders must interact with the content and each other.

This is why we created, Habitudes® for New Professionals (and all of the Habitudes resources). The images can be digested either in a short book or on-line or in a game. Any of these platforms offers emerging leaders the opportunity to learn truth, discuss it and apply it on a regular basis.

The Deloitte report added, “Even as the importance of this issue rose, the readiness to address it went down. Only 40 percent of respondents rated their organizations as ready or very ready in learning and development in 2015, compared to 75 percent in 2014.” I say, it’s time we get this right. We can’t afford not to be ready.

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