If a business is to maintain an effective and productive workforce, motivation is crucial. However many business leaders somewhat miss the mark in this regard, particularly among junior workers or ‘millennials’, as they fail to meet the expectations and requirements of a shifting professional landscape. Simply put, the wants and needs of millennials in their working lives are very different to those of the ‘baby-boomers’, and managers and business leaders need to wise up to that fact.

In an effort to ascertain those conditions in which the average millennial worker feels most motivated and thereby performs best, London-based recruitment consultancy Freshminds conducted a survey of workers in the UK which found that the managerial and leadership traits/styles of superiors has a profound effect on many millennials’ view of their work.

The survey incorporated responses from a wide range of workers in the UK, including those in entry level positions right through to middle management, senior executives and C-suite executives, and found that as many as 40.2% of respondents agreed that Transformational leaders - those who seek to engage, challenge and inspire those working under them to perform at their peak - have the greatest positive impact on junior employee/millennial motivation.

Following fairly close behind is a Democratic leadership style, whereby leaders promote open communication and employee input on a regular basis. This approach was stated to be the most effective by 36.5% of respondents.

James Callander, Managing Director at Freshminds, commented on the survey and its results, “Our findings demonstrate the need for leaders to take a transformational approach when it comes to managing and motivating graduate and early career talent - the so-called ‘millennial’ generation.

“Organisations are increasingly vying with one another to gain a competitive edge not just in the markets they operate but also in terms of attracting and - crucially - retaining the talent they need to help them achieve their goals.

“To do so means building winning teams, breaking down barriers, celebrating and rewarding successes, and identifying and developing those with the greatest potential within the organisation.”

Autocratic leaders were revealed in the survey as the least popular by a fair margin, with just 9.5% of respondents stating a preference for this leadership style. However what I find truly telling here is the position of those most likely to hold this autocratic preference - 35.4% of them hold a Director-level position or higher. Comparing this to the 8.3% in entry level roles and 1.8% in middle-management, and it seems clear to see who this approach most favours.

“Junior workers or millennials, whichever term of reference is favoured, embody a marked shift that is taking place. They are driven by the desire to make a real difference for themselves, their colleagues and the organisation they work for,” added Mr Callander. “The results of this survey confirm that junior graduate and entry-level talent respond and aspire to this type of transformational leadership. Those leaders who adopt this approach will make significant strides in creating better engaged and more productive teams, which by default will positively impact the bottom line.”


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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