It used to be the norm to have a CEO of a certain age who followed an autocratic, authoritarian leadership style. Akin to a paternal figure, this type of leader dictates policies and procedures to their subbordinates, without inviting feedback from the group. They decide the goals of the company and what direction to take. They are in full control of the team and do not look favorably on autonomy.
Nowadays, with the majority of baby boomers heading into retirement, there is a surge in millennial entrepreneurs. The range of retirees is 58-75 and they are being replaced by millennials aged 23-39. Along with this youthful perspective comes a new set of priorities, not just because of age but because of the state of the world. Each decade is defined by something, such as the greed of the 1980s, and millennials consider themselves to be the woke generation. Whether they are consumers, employees, or volunteers, millennials base nearly every decision on their innermost, passionate core beliefs about an organization’s ethics.
There are several leadership styles that embrace this methodology. Completely on the opposite end of authoritative is the democratic leadership style. These leaders believe that every employee has a voice, regardless of position. They believe in total transparency when it comes to company growth and change, and they hold regular meetings to encourage participation. Democratic leaders might have the ultimate say in a solution to a problem, but they are happy to hear all available options.
Managerial styles that fit well within a millennial’s company culture are the types that encourage the empowering of others and helping individuals grow within the group. Millennials prefer a teamwork approach over an authoritarian style of management, and they know when one person benefits, so does the team. For this reason, one style of leadership that mimics this philosophy perfectly is known as coaching. Partnership and collaboration are the driving forces behind decision-making, leading to enhanced creativity at every level.
Another major distinction that separates old entrepreneurs from millennials is that younger leaders know the value of feedback and criticism. They encourage openness from team members and also show, in both words and actions, that humans are all a work in progress, themselves included. There is a huge amount of respect earned by leaders who are willing to apologize for mistakes.