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Millennial Leaders are Driven by Purpose, Deeper Collaboration and Quality Business Relationships- Survey Reveals

Rachael Taylor 30 Apr 2019

IoD East of England events

Simon Barrington of Forge Leadership UK Interviewed 500 Millennial Leaders to find out their Character Traits and how they use them to lead in Business

Millennial business leaders need a sense of purpose and look for collaborative solutions, according to a year-long study conducted by Simon Barrington, founder of Forge Leadership UK.

In terms of work culture, the surveyed Millennials share a large world view which is reflected by their need to collaborate on deeper levels internally and externally.

The same study revealed that the best place for them to work is heavily determined by the quality of their internal relationships.

“We always measure our financial performance and general staff satisfaction, but never the quality of relationships”, says Simon Barrington.

Simon presented to IoD members and guests on Thursday 18 April 2019 at the IoD East regional hub about his year-long project interviewing millennial leaders. He surveyed 500 people from the public, private and charitable sectors to find out more about their business needs.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media typically use the term to refer to people born between 1984 and 2000.

They are stepping into some of the largest leadership roles in the country- but the results suggest that changes still need to be made to help them adapt and thrive in our established workplace culture.

Many have attributed Millennials with negative personality traits of narcissism, laziness and a having a sense of entitlement. Yet the survey revealed that their two top traits which they see in the most effective leaders are ‘integrity’ and ‘humility’.

The results also revealed that their biggest challenge as a leader is managing conflict, despite only 31 per cent of the Millennials surveyed having received training in this area.

Establishing meaningful relationships and learning how to deal with conflict with their employees plays a huge role in their ambition to create collaborative business solutions.

Besides, just like the rest of us, Millennials are only human. For example, despite their unlimited access to knowledge and advice via the internet, books and apps, the young leaders demonstrated a clear preference to one- to- one mentoring for personal development.

Many Nordic companies are adopting new work patterns to increase productivity levels, such as shortening the working week or reducing daily hours. This has proven successful in many firms as they have noticed that in the shorter time their employees are at work, they are more focussed, energetic and in turn more productive.

The survey results supported this idea as the interviewees expressed the need for -and encouraged- spare time for ‘side-hustles’ or hobbies outside of work. There was a general desire to have a better work-life balance than their parents previously did.

It goes to show that there has been the need to better understand the character traits and priorities of millennial leaders, in order to utilise them to their full potential in business- and even follow their example.

“The best leadership comes from having the right character and mind-set more than capacity and competency”, Simon Barrington points out.

However, it is not all about Millennials; we should all recognise our core values, beliefs, learn how to lead with them and bring a positive influence to the spheres in which we work.

At the end of the day, strong leadership comes from WHO you are more than what you know.

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