A dichotomy within U.S. organizations needs attention. Society has labeled millennials as a narcissistic people who have entitlement issues and lack the competencies necessary for globalization. Millennials are firing back with a desire for purposeful work. Meanwhile, the cohort is employed in the workforce with this stigma and experience challenges promoting into executive leadership roles. The purpose of this study is to understand the challenges that millennials face being promoted to executive leadership roles. The literature review explored the top U.S. organizations to discover what sets them apart in distinction. The findings determined that the most successful organizations followed three guided principles of (a) investing heavily in people, (b) valuing diversity inclusion, and (c) providing guidance in holistic leadership practices that promote emotional literacy. Fifteen millennial leaders were interviewed using a phenomenological methodology. Four research questions guided the study to address challenges, practices, strategies, measuring success, and recommendations. Findings from the study resulted in 849 characteristics and 58 themes. Three overarching challenges in addition to three overarching consequential lived experiences were interpreted through the data. Millennial leaders used holistic learning strategies, authentic leadership characteristics and ethical leadership practices to overcome challenges. Growth, meaning, and value were the three overarching desires that measured their success. Three overarching leadership themes emerged that recommended future aspiring leaders be authentic, purposeful and virtuous. Indeed, the millennials will birth virtuous leadership practices in U.S. organizations (McKenzie, 2017). The data revealed a series of personality traits and practices that coincide with the competency skills necessary for executive leadership and considered most important for success. Key findings discovered a common theme in the discussions on the benefits of feedback for leadership success. The crux of development for millennials is to resolve their definition of purpose and meaningful work, and then develop learning opportunities that support organizational outcomes. McKenzie (2017) postulates a T.E.A.M. (Teaching Empathy and Mindfulness) framework that uses the “U” and “I” in TEAM to facilitate purpose through positive psychology. The leadership model is guided by teaching empathy and mindfulness with the utilization of best practices, strategies, and measurements of success highlighted in the study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Generation Y -- Employment; Intergenerational relations; Work ethic; Leadership -- Case studies

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