This is a guest post by Vicky Oliver  

Millennials are on the ascent in upper management — and the world of work is rapidly changing.  

Born between 1980 and 1995, millennials have reached — or are closing in on — their 30s and early 40s and are receiving promotions into leadership roles. More than 60 percent of Millennials now have direct reports.   

Millennial owners and managers in the workplace are destined to change the office culture in a variety of ways. According to some, this cohort demonstrates higher self-esteem, anxiety, and depression coupled with a lower need for social approval. However, they deeply believe that the quest for individual fulfillment should be respected. 

Having had the freedom to work from home for the past two years on account of the pandemic, this generation is more likely to want to avoid dull, process-oriented meetings and keep the in-person gatherings at the office to a productive few. 

How does this translate into leadership at the office? Here are some trends to expect:  

1. Care for the whole person. Millennials believe in affirming the dignity of each individual and each person’s pursuit of personal fulfillment. Individual liberty and opportunity are the millennial credo. This translates into creating positive work cultures where a work-life balance is valued. Millennials believe a company’s responsibility is to help team members succeed both in their professional and their personal lives. 

2. Flatter is better. Millennials have jettisoned the top-down organizational structure. An “intrapreneurial” organizational culture of idea-sharing, risk-taking, and innovation appeals to them. They welcome all opinions and input, and value enthusiasm and passion in their team members. Work fulfillment has always been more important than compensation.  

3. Embrace change. Millennials are not intimidated by social and technological transformation. They’ll do what it takes to stay on the cutting edge of an evolving business landscape. Because Millennials grew up in the digital age, technology and ever-changing operational methods are second nature. They’re comfortable adapting to disruption and are flexible in their approach.  

4. Fast answers. Millennials want instantaneous answers and quick solutions. They have little patience with details, endless meetings, lengthy explanations or drawn-out excuses. This generation excels in sifting through a barrage of information to quickly get the gist, and then react immediately. Their push for speed, however, could lead them to miss important details that result in costly mistakes. They will need to rely on others in the organization to handle the minutiae of production or administration.    

5. Showcase mission. Working for the greater good is a strong ethos for Millennials. They are motivated to make a difference and drive real change on the planet. As a result, this generation of leaders emphasizes the social and/or environmental aspects of their products or services as a way to promote a strong brand reputation. Millennials are fueled by forward-thinking concepts and a desire for meaning within the work they do. 

6. Committed to inclusion. Millennials are considered the most socially minded group of professionals and they place strong value on a culture of inclusivity. They are ready to move beyond the work of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers in welcoming a more diverse workforce and focus on the collaborative opportunities and impacts that can result through a diversity of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies. Free expression carries significant importance in Millennial-led organizations. This can go so far as not shying away from political and social discussions at work.  

7. Determined to convey trust and transparency. Working remotely will continue to be embraced by this new generation of leaders, as they are less tied to the structure of the office and trust their team to be efficient wherever they choose to work. To them, outcomes are more important than putting in face time. These leaders tend to provide plenty of direct feedback in their desire to create a transparent work environment. Team members, however, would do best to stifle their impulse to push back. Confrontation isn’t a strong suit of the Millennial generation.   


With Millennials taking the helm of many of today’s organizations, they intend to move the needle towards more flexible, open, inclusive, and socially responsible workplaces. While their leadership style may come with a few less-than-perfect qualities, they are positioned to boldly face any disruptions that the future will bring.  


About the Guest Post Author:

Vicky Oliver is a leading career development expert and the multi-best-selling author of five books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005), named in the top 10 list of “Best Books for HR Interview Prep,” 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse, 2010), and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008). She is a sought-after speaker and seminar presenter and a popular media target, having made over 901 appearances in broadcast, print and online outlets. Vicky Oliver teaches essay writing at the New York Writers Workshop. For more information, visit