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How to Get Millennials To Follow You

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A good leader is someone who other people want to follow, and good leadership is both a valuable and necessary trait in those who aspire to guide and manage businesses, institutions, organizations and, most importantly, individuals. Whether a thought leader or an elected official, those who shape and direct the movement of people and ideas can't do it if they don't have a solid understanding of the people they are asking to trust and follow them.

It could be said that one of our most untapped resources are Millennials -- those young, up and comers who are often quickly labeled by society as entitled, narcissistic and non-committal. If Millennials were recognized for some of their positive attributes, like their open-mindedness, self-expressiveness and receptivity to new ideas, this generation could really start to shine as they become more prominent in today's workforce. Maybe all it takes is a good leader.

Would a Millennial want to follow you?

With Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) accounting for 50 per cent of the workforce by 2017, leaders need to understand how to successfully lead them. A recent survey conducted by yconic (see the full survey results here) suggested that Gen Y'ers are most likely to follow trustworthy individuals who are skilled communicators and big-picture thinkers.

Other key insights from the study include:

Being a good listener is important to Millennials. They need a leader who will be receptive to their innovative ideas and will listen when they express themselves. Further, they will generally expect to be recognized for bringing these ideas forward.

Transparency, honesty and integrity are a must. While these traits are expected in leaders by all generations, it is table stakes for Millennials. Further, if transparency, honesty and/or integrity is broken, expect them to share it with others. They are a generation of whistleblowers who will not hesitate to call out behaviors they deem unjust.

Compassion and cause gain their respect. This generation is very much driven by compassion and helping others. A leader who shows these qualities will gain their respect and admiration.

Gen Y is a group of talented, intelligent and creative individuals who are full of potential and just need a little direction from a leader who is as forward-thinking as they are. Millennials aren't opposed to leadership (in fact they welcome it), but they won't hand themselves over to be led by just anyone. They want to contribute, but they also want to be heard and understood -- and they won't stand for anything less. Those that lead Millennials, and take the time to learn and recognize what motivates them as individuals (and lets them express that individuality), will have someone who will thrive under their leadership.