It's no secret that as members of the Baby Boom generation retire and otherwise leave the work force, Millennials are stepping up to take their place. And as Millennials become more engaged in the world around us, they are changing it for the better in their own unique ways.

According to leadership expert Mick Ukleja, founder and president of LeadershipTraQ, Millennials are changing the world in four very important--and positive--ways.

1. They challenge us to think qualitatively instead of quantitatively.

Quality has fewer limits than quantity. Why not focus on economic justice, or more tolerance for differing points of view? Less polarization could be refreshing.  As one of Ukleja's friends put it, "The radical middle is between the 'left over left' and the 'self-righteous right.'" Or how about revisiting our education system to make sure real learning is taking place? Why not focus on preparing students for the workplace of the future? Does our instruction take place in the context of a global economy? This new generation demands this kind of thinking. It's a good demand and will help define how success will be defined in the future.

Think quality instead of quantity.

2. They challenge old assumptions about careers and jobs.

Getting employment and loyally working for a company until we can comfortably retire has been thrown into question. Staying with one company is not the top consideration of a career. And neither is the sole emphasis on the bottom line. There is a strong expectation for businesses to expand the impact they are making. Their role in the world includes improving it for the better. Millennials have a strong sense of this.

Think contribution instead of consumption.

3. They challenge "one size fits all."

Learning processes will be customized. Some of us grew up with television. This new generation has grown up with something in their hand--smartphones that let them communicate, compute, and much more. Over the next few years, many of these devices will be used in the classroom. It will be possible to monitor how fast students are learning. They will be able to learn at their own speed. This will prevent someone from falling into the gaps of the educational system, while at the same time not holding another back. The pace will be customized to the learner. Today, when I purchase my music, I no longer have to buy the entire CD. I can design my own. Instructors will be able to do the same thing--providing more customization in learning along with the basics.

Think "guide on the side" instead of "sage on the stage."

4. They challenge us to make decision making more distributive.

Until recent years, it was customary for business decisions to be made at the top of organizations because that's where the information was collected. Today, there is a pipeline of information available to everyone. The skills for making decisions need to be dynamic--not static. This is necessary to keep up with the normalcy of rapid change. There are a lot of firsts with the Millennial generation that make this essential.

It's the first generation that...

·      doesn't need an authority figure to access information

·      enjoys external stimuli at their fingertips 24/7

·      is in social contact at all times

·      will learn more from a portable device than a seminar

As a result, leadership will rise more organically, and distributed decision making will help grow and leverage that leadership. A hierarchical chain of command can act like a bottleneck, slowing down this engaging system. Millennials have worked in groups collaborating with others their entire lives. It was organic and unfettered by an obsolete hierarchical system. The result?  Better decisions and stronger engagement.

Think collaboration instead of control.

Published on: Oct 8, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.