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5 Traits To Look For When Promoting A Millennial


By Courtney Templin, Chief Operating Officer at JB Training Solutions and co-author of “Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management

Millennials will be leading our organizations and will outnumber the baby boomers in the workforce by 2015.  That’s soon!  In our new book, “Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management“, we offer a look at each of the generations in the workforce, but we focus on millennials and how this generation will lead.

We discovered that for millennials in management positions, it’s more about collaboration than command and control.  It’s more about the network and connecting than the authority and executing.  Now, these ideas may fly in the face of some of the traditional rules of management.  In our workplaces right now, there is a tension between these old rules and the new, and millennial managers have a big role in bridging this gap.  They can respect what works and push for new ways of working, managing, and leading that produce stronger results and a more engaged workforce.

So, how do you know when it’s time to take that next step and promote a millennial to a management position?  What qualities should you look for to know they will succeed in the new era of management?  Here are five traits that can help a millennial stand out as a high-potential leader:

1. Conflict Resolution Skills.

Millennials struggle with delivering tough feedback and have a strong distaste for conflict.  Good managers must have the managerial courage to hold these difficult conversations.  Since technology is so innate to millennials, communication via technology tends to take precedence over “old-fashioned,” face-to-face dialogue. This lack of direct communication allows millennials to avoid having to deliver constructive feedback.  Holding people accountable and leading a cohesive, effective team is critical to success as a leader.  Millennials who possess advanced conflict resolution and communication skills put themselves a step above the rest.

2. Attention to Detail.

Millennials have been characterized as having a distaste towards menial work.  Resistance to performing “mundane” tasks can be toxic in the workplace, and you need to see that an employee has mastered the finer details before they move on to bigger projects and responsibilities.  Attention to detail shows that you have pride in your work and that you want to present the company in a positive light.  This push for excellence makes a strong millennial manager candidate.

3. A bias toward action. 

Millennials love to collaborate, and they like to share ownership with teams.  Millennial managers need to be able to make a final decision and implement deadlines to ensure a bias toward action in a collaborative environment.  A great manager “gets stuff done”, and they inspire teams to reach high goals.  Millennials with high potential for leadership don’t get bogged down trying to reach consensus or talking in circles about the problem, they push for solutions and jump right into putting those ideas to work.

4. The chameleon communicator. 

The golden rule states: “Treat others the way YOU want to be treated.”  Good managers defy the golden rule at work and instead say: “Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.”  Look out for millennials who can customize their communications based on the individual they are working with.  Being able to adjust your style is a key trait of a successful manager, so millennials who have versatility and flexibility with their communication style are ahead of the pack.

5. Humility.

Entitled, overly confident, and impatient are just some of the words and negative stereotypes used to describe millennials.  Many have claimed this new generation possesses confidence beyond actual ability.  While confidence is a great asset, humility is a must for any potential millennial manager.  Author of Good to Great, Jim Collins states that humility is the defining trait of a Level 5 leader.  Truly great leaders take ownership of their mistakes and give credit to their team for successes.  Showing humility is a sign of maturity and awareness, so if you spot this important trait in a millennial, chances are they are ready for the next step into management.

There are quite a few other traits that go along with being a strong manager, but these are a few that help millennials stand apart from the crowd.  Now even though they possess these important qualities, new millennial managers will need support through learning, mentorship, and management training.  Once you promote your millennial employee to a management position, be sure to check out our resources to help them succeed: http://www.manager3point0.com/manager-3-point-0/resources

Good luck!


An accomplished author and workplace expert, Courtney Templin brings over eight years of experience in the training and development field to her role as Chief Operating Officer at JB Training Solutions. Courtney spearheads JB Training Solutions’ strategic planning, business development, and program design. Courtney is co-author of “How to Say It on Your Resume” and “Manager 3.0: A Millennial’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management“.