The Generational Shift: How should Millennials Prepare for the C-Suite?
14 August 2023
Today’s corporate landscape is undergoing a significant generational transition. This was the core theme of a recent Bluesteps webinar featuring a panel of senior-level search consultants, including David-Sebastian Stein, Managing Partner Signium Austria & Romania and Signium Global Board Member.
The discussion focused on three main areas:
1. How are Generational Shifts Impacting the C-Suite Landscape?
Statistics indicate that 60% of millennials in the workforce are already in managerial or leadership positions, demonstrating that a major shift is underway. With baby boomers retiring and Generation X possibly considering early retirement, millennials are stepping into pivotal leadership roles, reshaping the C-suite landscape in unprecedented ways.
Stein highlighted the distinctive attributes of millennial leaders such as a questioning mindset, out-of-the-box thinking and a desire for meaning & purpose. He emphasized the need for inclusivity and encouraged millennials to seize opportunities to learn from colleagues across all generations. Furthermore, Stein advised millennials to be patient when dealing with those of other generations and learn how to engage and manage peers from their own generation effectively.
In line with this shift, many organizations are also looking at their reason “why” and seeking to understand their larger purpose. This trend mirrors the impact of the millennial mindset shift and influence, further signifying the changing dynamics of the corporate world.
The panel also discussed the importance of empathy & service as cornerstones of millennial leadership. These qualities, while challenging to quantify, require diverse reference points for accurate evaluation.
As millennials climb the corporate ladder, new roles that didn’t exist previously in the C-suite are also being created. This is indicative of the innovative and diverse outlook millennials bring to the table, highlighting the business imperative to identify and foster next-gen talent.
2. What Key Points Should Millennial Leaders Think About?
The second theme revolved around advice for millennial leaders. Stein underscored innovative thinking, community orientation, and network engagement as key strengths of this generation. However, he also stressed the need for assertiveness and decision-making skills, striking a balance between engaging others and making swift, effective decisions.
Stein emphasized the importance of fostering a personal brand and being conscious about the direction millennial leaders want to progress. He noted that while education is one part of the equation, competencies, skills, abilities, knowledge, and behaviors accumulated over time are equally significant. It’s crucial for millennials to learn how to communicate these competencies effectively. He also reiterated the importance of an empathetic, innovative, and solution-oriented mindset.
In addition to these insights, the panel discussed mentoring as a crucial part of personal development: both finding a mentor and mentoring others. They also advocated a strengths-based approach to personal development, emphasizing the importance of being intentional about creating and building relationships.
The panel also spoke about digitalization and its role in shaping millennial leadership. The pandemic underscored the importance of resilience and adaptability, prompting millennial leaders to evolve their leadership styles and approaches.
3. How can you Leverage the Value of an Executive Search Network?
The third discussion point centered on networking with executive search consultants. Stein urged millennials to be proactive in their career progression and not rely solely on being discovered by search consultants.
The panelists emphasized that networking should extend beyond mere connections to building significant and meaningful relationships. They also underscored the importance of self-awareness and introspection in leadership. It’s important to have a clear understanding of one’s career direction and unique contribution to an organization or society.
Best Advice for Aspiring Leaders
In closing, each panelist shared one quick tip for aspiring leaders. Stein advised,
“Try to reflect internally, find out who you are, what your purpose is, what drives you, and what your strengths are. Communicate this with pride and authenticity to the external world. If you master this piece, the rest will be easy”.
These insights offer invaluable guidance for millennials striving for C-suite roles and those responsible for identifying and fostering next-gen talent.
To watch the full webinar recording, please click here (registration required).