As workplace culture continues to shift, leaders and managers find themselves needing to take a new, modern approach to attract and retain younger staff. Millennials don’t thrive in or even tolerate the old command-and-control structures. Instead they crave the autonomy to be creative and innovative. And today, they want to work with leaders and managers who become mentors and care about both their personal and professional development.


If we look at companies that frequently top the lists of best places to work, one thing they have in common is the commitment to taking care of their staff. While they maintain a high standard for performance, the leaders also know how to make personal connections with their teams, enrol them in the vision for the organisation, and ensure each individual feels a sense of purpose.


Leadership that will attract and retain talented, young staff must begin with a strong supportive organisational culture. Indeed, when we examine the 2016 Best Places to Work on Glassdoor, employees rave about people focused cultures, supportive management, learning opportunities, and strong communication – it’s the same in schools.


And the same principles can be applied to all public services and any educational establishment. In fact, fostering a culture of modern leadership is crucial to the success of these kinds of organisations. And when such leadership models the desired behaviours, by treating staff with respect and care, while remaining humble and accessible, others within the establishment will mirror such behaviours.


Developing a culture of this nature doesn’t mean sacrificing performance, nor does it mean the leaders have to cater to every staff member’s whim. Instead, modern leadership means listening to diverse voices, cultivating trust, and investing in the development of other leaders throughout the organisation, and leading with humility, transparency, and a genuine interest in both the professional and personal growth of team members.


Ultimately, modern leadership cultivates a sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation, which leads to happy and deeply engaged staff members. And when the team feels cared for and connected to the vision and goals of the establishment, they’re more likely to do their best work together to move the whole organisation forward.



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