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Who wants to be a leader? Apparently not many.

A recent workplace study by Saba indicated that only 31% of millennials want to get a leadership position.

That’s a huge number of people who are opting out of a crucial role in running your business in the future. Yet a strong pool of people aspiring for senior leadership roles is going to be crucial to long lasting success.

The two key questions this research poses are (1) why don’t they want the leadership roles and (2) what can you do to change the %?

The why is probably for two key reasons. Firstly the senior roles don’t look like much fun. Too much politics. Too much bureaucracy. Not enough real decision making authority, with key decisions being taken in New York, London, Paris. Sure the travel is extensive but that soon turns into a reality of “what city am I in today?” and not such a glamorous option.

Secondly the meaning and purpose motive, even at senior levels is stifled. Rather like a values driven person joining one of the mainstream political parties, they soon find they have to compromise a lot and tow the party line (think ex Midnight Oils front man Peter Garrett).

The result is that for those that do aspire to make a difference (and that is really what leadership should be about), the entrepreneurial choice to do a start up and run your own show is so much more attractive. This is leadership on your own terms, working in alignment with your own values. Millennials certainly aspire to that.

What to do to address the issues? I my view the current leaders have to push harder to make the organisational system they are working in more agile, more entrepreneurial and more exciting. Most leaders see the need for change in the way things are done in corporate life, yet don’t do enough about it. The trouble is that pushing authority figures and trying to change an ingrained culture and system is risky. It can get the local leaders into trouble. And yet if we are going to entice young talent to stick around and make a difference in the corporate world, we have to demonstrate real leadership right now in our current leadership roles.

Push for change. Create more meaning in the workplace. Be more agile. That’s the only thing that’s going to inspire young talent, so we can have enough of them to help us now and pass the baton to in a few years.

Richard Wentworth Ping
CEO Wentworth People

If you are interested in finding out more about Adaptive Leadership, contact Wentworth People here or call 1800 807288

We have been helping organisations build successful, enjoyable work cultures since 1989.