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The Digital Era: Are Millenials Ready To Lead?

Millennials – people born during the period 1980 – 1998, are occupying the majority of the workforce not only in Vietnam but also globally. This generation is gradually becoming leaders and managers in businesses. Born in the digital age, with the opportunity to interact with technology more than the previous generation, but are Millennials ready to become leaders of the 4.0 era?

Born in the technology era

Unlike previous generations like Gen X or Baby Boomers, Millennials are generations born when technology thrives with breakthroughs that change people’s lives and behaviors. However, to lead an organization, all generations are facing the same challenges. According to the DDI & E&Y Report of 2018, when surveyed about the willingness to face the challenges of leadership, Millennials showed confidence in the following factors:

  • Understanding and acting on changing customer needs and perspectives: Millennials show that they can act quickly to bring the best products and services by always listening, understanding needs,… and put customers at the center of business.
  • Anticipating and reacting to the nature and speed of change: In a business environment impacted by technology, Millennials express themselves as a generation that can anticipate upcoming changes and what need to do to take advantage of it as well as confront the challenges that changes will bring. This is understandable because they use technology every day and are able to keep up with the trend faster than previous generations.
  • Using data to guide business decisions: The age of technology is also the data age. Every customer behavior becomes a huge database containing solutions for business problems. Millennials have the ability to leverage data analysis to understand customer behavior, thereby making timely and effective predictions and decisions.

Picture 1: Using data to guide business decisions

However, Millennials also feels that it is not ready to face the following challenges: (1) operating within a highly digital business environment, (2) acting decisively without always having clear direction and certainty, (3) capturing organizational knowledge before it’s lost. When talking about a generation born in the digital age, we assume that they will be confident in leadership in a “technology” environment. But in fact, it may be because of too much job-hopping that they do not have much leadership experience in general and leading the team in the digital environment in particular. When businesses continue to apply new technology, the nature of work will change quickly and human resources, then, must change and adapt promptly. Therefore, leading the workforce always in a position to be ready to change will be a big challenge for Millennials, who do not have much management and leadership experience. Notably, Millennials are not the only generation that finds it difficult to face these challenges, but the two previous generations also share the same perspective.

Picture 2: Millennials – the generation of the digital era

Millennial ego lead to no common voice with the organization

There have been many studies in the world describing typical characteristics of this generation. According to Deloitte in 2016, the most striking feature of the Millenials is the lack of “loyalty” to the organization. This research also shared, Millennials will greatly support the company if the values that the company aims for are also their values, accordingly, they are not hesitant to end the relationship with the company if they disagree with the company’s value and policy. They always have a plan for themselves because they do not believe the organization understand their role and are not ready to develop them to management level. Therefore, Millennials do not have enough time at an organization to have enough experience to resolve differences, and to be a leader. They need to reconcile self-beliefs with the public values to be ready for the new role

Millennials have been the leaders of the mobility era. In order to be successful, the Millennials generation itself must focus on building and developing their leadership. Businesses also need to take immediate actions to develop a future generation of leaders, because Millennials’ inspirational capabilities and leadership will bring businesses to new successes in the digital age.

Picture 3: Millennials’ ego is what keeps them from succeeding in leadership

Advice from PRIMUS

   1. For Millennials

  • Changing the leadership mindset: Because Millennials will be first-time managers, a leadership mindset is very important. Instead of thinking “what will I do to solve this problem”, you need to think “what will I do to lead people to solve this problem”.
  • Reconciling ego and public values: To be able to belong to an organization, you must be integrated with the organization. Always take the time to observe and analyze differences, before making adverse decisions for both sides.
  • Constantly learning: about digital and technology that can be applied to business operations.

   2. For Businesses

  • Develop a leadership training program: understand the characteristics of this generation so that it can improve the ineffectiveness and elevate their strengths, through short-term, long-term courses and mentorship from leaders,…
  • Reassess the resources of the business: assess the readiness of businesses for the digital age, thereby utilize Millennials’ digital ability and digital solutions for business development.
  • Encourage creativity and responsibility: Be ready to let the younger generation take on greater responsibilities in the work earlier, so that they are ready to face and practice with management and leadership.


Those are the list of top least-known and best-known unicorns with the valuations of at least $1 billion. Which of these brand names do you know? Share your opinions about them by leaving your comments in the section below.


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