Future Workplace, an executive development firm dedicated to rethinking and reimagining the workplace, and Beyond, The Career Network, today announced the results of their national "The Multi-Generational Leadership" study, which shows that a growing number of Millennials are managing Gen X and Baby Boomer professionals. However, according to the survey’s 5,771 respondents, this shift in leadership could be harmful to a company’s work environment.
The survey found that 83% of respondents have seen Millennials managing Gen X and Baby Boomers in their office. However, 45% of Baby Boomers and Gen X respondents feel that Millennials’ lack of managerial experience could have a negative impact on a company’s culture. On a related note, over one-third of Millennial respondents said that it's difficult managing older generations.
“As more Baby boomers retire, Millennials are moving into leadership positions and are faced with managing older generations, which they were never trained to do,” said Dan Schawbel, Partner and Research Director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself. “Millennials need to respect and support the needs and careers of Gen X and Baby Boomers if they want to learn, develop and eventually become the executives corporate America requires to move forward.”
While 44% of Millennial respondents view themselves as being the most capable generation to lead in the workplace, only 14% of all survey respondents agree with this sentiment. 51% of all respondents feel that Gen X employees are the most capable generation to lead organizations.
The survey also found that there’s a need for ongoing mentorship and coaching to deepen Millennial leadership skills. Today, the vast majority of a company’s training budget is spent on formal training programs and what is needed is more informal learning and development, mentoring and coaching and access to self-directed learning. While 89% of respondents said that building strong leadership skills is important to them, only 47% of them work for companies that have a formal mentorship program to support their leadership development.
“Millennials are no longer new to the workforce, they’re now in the thick of it,” said Rich Milgram, Founder and CEO of Beyond. “However, a significant portion of the older employees they’re managing don’t have faith in their abilities. The only way to overcome this unique challenge is through a range of professional learning and development delivery options, including formal training, mentoring, coaching, and online self-directed learning. This will help create a culture of learning that benefits all generations, and provides employees with the tools and resources they need to flourish as leaders.”
Additional survey findings show that all generations cite working well with others, communication skills and their ability to build relationships as leadership strengths. Meanwhile, survey respondents from all generations consider general business knowledge, conflict management skills and organizational influence as the top three areas in which they can improve.