Home Practice Management Passing on the leadership baton to millennials

Passing on the leadership baton to millennials


Millennials, those in the mid-20s, grew up in the age of the internet. They see the world differently to the generation before them. They value teamwork, instant communication and social responsibility above bottom-line management. That may be a worry for those looking to hand over the baton in their accounting practice, but Jane Downes, in this article from Accaglobal, offers several pointers on how to nurture this new generation of managers.

To facilitate a generational skills swap, managers in practice should take the following approaches with millennials:

  1. Use feedback. The ability to give and receive feedback is one of the most critical skills modern managers need to have under their belt. Constant feedback loops are important, particularly for millennials used to instant responses on social media platforms.
  2. Ensure there are career development plans. Offering millennials opportunities to own their own career development plans is vital in coaching them in how to manage, when to knuckle down and show career grit, and when to push for promotion.
  3. Build relationships and trust face to face. While millennials are usually effective at collaborating, they can often default to technology for communication. The practice leader’s job is to create value through people and to encourage contact and face-to-face interaction.
  4. Use data to aid decision-making. Finance leadership today means being comfortable with the use of internal data to make key decisions. Being data-savvy is a skill all managers are expected to master and will win you buy-in from your millennial team.
  5. Devote time to internal and external team-building skills. Build a culture of social connectedness where empathy is a social glue that allows people to connect. Effective practice leaders realise that true leadership is not about them individually, but the kind of organisation they create.
  6. Build and communicate a vision. Millennials like leaders with a big vision. They find it motivating, encouraging, and something they will work towards.
  7. Learn to recruit the right people. Learning how to hire the right person is a key skill that every manager of millennials needs to get to grips with.
  8. Become a constant learner driven by curiosity. If you manage millennials, you need to set an example by showing a commitment to ongoing learning and skills development. This will filter down.
  9. Keep your door open. Nurturing the people who report to you is a fundamental requirement. Be aware of everything, but don’t be a control freak – micromanagement undermines loyalty and works against you in the long run.