Millennials select creativity, globalization, and sustainability as future trends for CEO leadership.


Photo by Quang Minh (YILKA) used under a creative commons license. Thank you Quang.

How do millennials view leadership? Do they agree with the results of IBM’s CEO study that creativity should be the primary leadership attribute? How do they differ in their views? When you consider that in a few short years Generation Y will make up half the workforce, then it becomes very important to understand how they view leadership.

IBM conducted a Global Student Study of 3,600 students in college and graduate schools in conjunction with the Global CEO Study.

Gen Y grew up in a global, flat, digital and interconnected world. Most were born after 1980, and they grew up with digital games, music, mail and data. They did not do their homework in libraries with the help of a reference librarian. Instead they surfed the internet and clicked on links to fulfill their homework assignments. They stay connected with their friends on Facebook.

They rated creativity as one of the top three leadership qualities. This is in alignment with CEOs. The themes of globalization and sustainability differentiated them from the CEOs. When asked to select the most important force likely to impact organization over the next five years, twice as many students saw globalization and environmental issues as relevant in sharp contrast to the CEOs. The students showed a high level of concern around the scarcity of resources and global competition for these resources.

Millennials tend to view themselves as global citizens and they see the need to redefine value and the terms of success. They grew up in a flat and globalized world where everyone is interconnected by technology. Generation Y wants to create new relationships between societies, business, economies and governments since we all live on a shared planet.

These are the rankings of the nine leadership qualities by Generation Y: creativity (63%), global thinking (51%), integrity (37%), sustainability (35%), openness (29%), dedication (27%), influence (22%), fairness (15%), and humility (14%). Students and CEOs placed creativity in the top position as the leadership attribute needed to develop new strategies and business models.

What leadership qualities do you see as important for our future leaders?

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