What Millennials Seek in a Great Business Analyst Leader

What Millennials Seek in a Great Business Analyst Leader Cover
Inga Davids

December 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

Rewire your corporation as 21st Century business analysis pokes holes in your ‘big-systems’ status-quo, and manage by being a great business analyst leader.

Corporations are often described as ‘big systems’ designed to discourage people from challenging the status quo. In Seth Godin’s book Tribes he sums it up so eloquently with the idea of the balloon factory and the unicorn. Seth likens the ‘balloon factory’ to these big corporations; places where sharp objects and any sort of change could disrupt the entire system, and the ‘Unicorn’, the mythical animal with the pointy horn, is making everybody in the balloon factory fearful of the imminent burst balloon!

I like to think of millennials as Unicorns, poking holes in all sorts of systems and challenging the status quo, and it shouldn’t be surprising that we are disrupting what it means to be a leader to us on our terms. If you’re lucky enough to be managing a millennial, here are some must have leadership traits to better understand what this generation seeks in terms of leadership and how to lead this generation now.


Passionate leaders are ones who understand the work that they do, how it impacts the business for good and cares for the people involved, and by doing that motivates all those around them.

Millennials need to know the purpose of what they are doing; its goal, why they are doing it and most importantly how it impacts the business and the customer.

Transferring your passion for the job, that drive and that knowledge is what millennials seek. Passion is contagious, and who wouldn’t want to work for a passionate business analyst leader?


Corporations are peppered with managers who have been brought up to dictate, micro-manage and behave somewhat inflexibly. Millennials best respond best to leadership styles that give the sense of autonomy and flexibility, and

… managers who have mastered the old school art of micro-managing and guiding by strict instruction are going to have consider alternative leadership styles …

when leading 21st century business analysts. Give us space to take responsibility and to be accountable. Trust that we’ll get the job done and where needed we’ll reach out.


Business analyst managers come with years of relevant and worthwhile experience, having navigated tricky project situations, dealt with all sorts of interesting stakeholders and, typically, having walked a similar path as they were traversing their own career journey.

A great business analyst leader knows how and when to share their personal experience as being relevant and worthwhile information.

Millennials seek great coaches to empower them to make informed decisions, improve performance, solve problems and reach career goals!

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Millennial business analysts are like sponges, keen to soak up all of the possible learnings and understand their blindspots in order to grow their technical and soft skill expertise. With their wealth of experience, business analyst leaders are primed for delivering just that.

Lead us by providing fresh perspective to challenge our thinking so that we can step up, short circuit our assumptions and thrive.

Let us make mistakes, learn through doing and where necessary step in to provide another viewpoint on how best to tackle a task, problem or a tricky stakeholder.


Open communication is what millennials are seeking from a great business analyst leader. We are the wired generation, the ones used to online, fast, accessible and genuine feedback, so don’t be afraid to dish it.

Trusting relationships are built on honest communication, and having a safe space to voice concerns, expectations and celebrate successes will lead to our improved morale and participation!

Fail to have this communication style and you run the risk of creating a disengaged millennial business analyst.


Millennials view the relationship with their managers as a collaborative one, a space to share ideas and work together on crafting career paths – after all, it is our business analysis journey. We may not have all the answers on how to reach those audacious career dreams, but

… by collaborating with you on the best path to reach our business analyst potential you’d be empowering us to take responsibility for our own careers.

Nobody wants to look back and ask themselves the question ‘What am I doing here?!’, so involve us intimately when it comes to executing our careers!

Millennials are challenging the big-systems that were built for the traditional ‘bosses’ to thrive in and are seeking a different sort of ‘Manager’. Managers who are willing to adapt and embrace these great business analyst leadership traits will appeal to and get the most out of this generation.

Have you rewired for the unicorn business analyst? Or are you trying to ensure the balloon factory doesn’t blow up?