What Makes a Good Leader at Work?

12.21.2015
HR & Safety

The Bridge team at software-as-a-service company Instructure has announced the results of a study assessing what millennials and non-millennials value most in leadership at work.

In contrast to the widespread belief that millennials and older generations are fundamentally divided in their view of work, the nationwide study of more than 1,000 working employees and managers found that employees’ expectations of leadership are timeless and defy intergenerational dynamics.

According to the results, both millennials and non-millennials have higher opinions of the leaders with whom they work most closely, indicating that face-time matters across generations.

Thirty-two percent of both millennials and non-millennials think their direct supervisor performs very well, as opposed to 23% for senior management and 18% for C-suite executives.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Millennials and non-millennials alike value trustworthiness the most in a manager, with 59% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials dubbing it the most important quality.
  • Millennials and non-millennials agree that managers are more effective in displaying industry knowledge and experience (42% say they are very effective) than they are at mentoring (25% say they are very effective) and utilizing all of employees’ talents and abilities at work (23% say they are very effective).
  • Millennials think leadership is less concerned about them. They also are less optimistic about the benefits of work. Only 23% of millennials strongly agree that management is concerned about them compared to 40% of non-millennials. Only 32% of millennials strongly agree that work is good for their mental health compared to 40% of non-millennials.
  • Millennials and non-millennials share a cohesive vision about how leadership will change by 2020. Employees feel managers will (1) Delegate more assignments (most likely), (2) Empower their teams more, (3) Master more technical skills, (4) Develop better teaching capabilities and (5) Develop better gender sensitivity (least likely).

The survey polled more than 1,000 employees across the United States to determine their attitudes about leadership, gender and training at work.

The survey was conducted in October 2015 and had respondents in several industries, with an equal split of male and female respondents.

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