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4 types of bosses millennials want
Leadership Development

4 types of bosses millennials want

Aishwarya Sinha Ray
January 16, 2024

There are 2 types of bosses whom we are going to remember for the rest of our lives - The one who always had our back and the other, who taught us what we shouldn’t do as a boss. You decide, which one are you and which one would you like to become.

There are certain types of bosses that you truly admire, respect and look up to while there are others with whom you just don’t want to deal with. In fact, today’s corporate stories are rife with manager-employee relationships, especially with millennials, that are either very inspiring or highly disastrous. Want to take a look at it from a fictional angle?

Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

Bobby Pellitt in Horrible Bosses

Bill Lumbergh in Office Space

Buddy Ackerman Swimming with Sharks

These are the famous top-line characters from blockbuster Hollywood movies. Successful, competent, growth-driven but not very likeable as leaders.

Would companies want to hire them? Mostly, yes. However, would millennials like to work for them? Mostly, no.

This is because millennials are known for their free will, spontaneity, ownership skills and determination. They have a unique energy and passion to get things done, and because of this they don’t go by the rules all the time.

Of course, not every organisation, manager or leader is okay with it but millennials come with such package. If you want millennials working for you then there are certain things that are non-negotiable before you choose to hire them. As a manager or a team lead, here’ what you must & must not do while you build a team of millennials.

The 4 types of bosses millennials want

4 types of bosses millennials want | peopleHum

1. The ones that respect ideas, not hierarchy

Great companies are run by ideas and not hierarchy. If you are the type of boss that wants millennials to work with a fresh mind then you have to give them an open platform to share and discuss ideas. Being their leader, you must ensure that they are -

  1. Receiving enough support to speak up and perform
  2. Given a chance to implement and execute their ideas
  3. Able to measure the outcome of their projects or campaigns
  4. Constantly motivated with good ideas by the leadership

Asking them to follow your ideas only because you come with a lot of experience might not be the best way to settle a conversation. This is one situation where numbers don’t bother them. Give them a reason why you may or may not want to go ahead with their plan, strategy or idea. If it makes sense to them, they will agree with you, understand the issue and learn from you for future reference.

2. The ones that don’t given them orders because millennials won’t listen

Millennials belong to a generation where they ask ‘why’ before going ahead with a thought or an idea. Now, of course, they believe in breaking the rules but don’t always do so. Ideas and reasons fascinate them. So, give them a reason for every plan that you want to implement.

Encourage them to explain their idea behind wanting to implement a plan. That’s how they will learn to guide a team when they become leaders.

Here are a few things you can do for them -

  1. Encourage them to participate in leadership-level meetings and discussions.
  2. After a while, let them propose their own ideas at these meetings.
  3. Instead of giving them orders, give them insightful books to read and share interesting articles with them. They will really appreciate the gesture and have more confidence in you.

On the contrary, try giving them orders and see them drifting apart. Engage them with insightful ideas and discussion, and see them respect you more.

3. The ones that trust them with responsibility

Witness how millennials are the ones most excited every time a new social media channel hits the market. Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, all sites are mostly ruled by millennials. In fact, majority of the tech enthusiasts belong to the millennial generation who are always keen on trying new age technology and gadgets.

However, if you keep changing well established plans, ideas and strategies or have a highly fungible vision and goal, it will really turn them off and you will lose them. I understand there is too much pressure to be the perfect leader but that’s the point. Millennials don’t care about perfection, they care about consistency and ownership. They believe in socialising and talking about something that they created or built.

Instant messaging apps, high speed internet, uber & on-call food delivery, millennials are happy to accept the sudden paradigm shift in technology that -

  1. Saves their time
  2. Makes them put less effort
  3. Earns them freebies
  4. Allows them to socialise

You will be on your toes when you work with millennials and it’s a great feeling. Such enthusiasm about technology and something new to try every time, you yourself can learn a lot from them being their leader.

4 types of bosses millennials want | peopleHum

4. The ones that offer honest and timely feedback

As mentioned previously, millennials love feedback. You give them regular and timely feedback, they will improve and come back with a better plan. Compensation doesn’t excite them as long as they are given a chance to work with a manager who shares common views.

Regular feedback is what they crave for at a workplace environment. They work to see quick results that might give others an impression that they lack patience.

However, they are driven to grow and climb up the corporate ladder. Startups especially, therefore, are on the lookout for millennials, who can bring energy and a work-driven attitude into their culture and eventually build a business empire for them.

Long story short -

  1. Be open with them
  2. Listen to their inputs
  3. Offer them perks
  4. Give them regular feedback
  5. Encourage them to grow & improve


Millennials have shared articles where they talk about how they would want to manage a team when they become leaders. In fact, we do have many young leaders who are taking charge the way their managers didn’t or at least hoped that their managers could have.

There were some who discriminated against them, favoured a particular employee, rejected their application for promotion, terminated them for not abiding by their rules or did something that totally infuriated them. However, that doesn't stop them from focusing on their individual leadership skills.

All they want in return is a platform to share ideas, equal opportunities, transparency, a lot of free space and free food. These are a few qualities millennials look for in an employer. Now that you know the 4 types of bosses that are desired, which one are you?

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