Leading Multi-Generational Teams

Posted On July 6, 2017

If I mention the term “Generation X,” what’s the first word that pops in your mind?

Is it “slackers?”

When you think of millennials, do you automatically think of someone who has a feeling of entitlement, who is likely to leave a job at the drop of a hat if it doesn’t match their preconceived ideal?

While both of these impressions are prevalent and pervasive, neither is particularly accurate.

Research shows, however, that no generation more than Gen-X is willing to take their own future into their hands and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” if you will, without relying on outside help. And Department of Labor statistics show that millennials aren’t actually the biggest job-hopping generation – Baby Boomers changed jobs at an even higher rate when they were in their 20s.

As I note in my multi-media workshop, “Leading Multi-Generational Teams,” avoiding generational stereotypes that don’t hold water is one step toward more effective management of employees of all ages.

To avoid falling back on these inaccurate stereotypes, it’s helpful to understand how generational attitudes and preferences are created. Four things from a person’s coming-of-age years in their teens to early 20s can shape these attitudes and preferences:

  • Historical events
  • Reactions to those events
  • Parenting trends
  • Demographics

Baby Boomers grew up with the Kennedy assassination, free love and Vietnam; many Gen-Xers grew up as latchkey kids in the materialistic ‘80s; and millennials have been brought up in what we see as an era of participation trophies.

But remember: A generation’s reaction to those events and upbringings – which may represent rebellion against the prevailing attitudes of the day – can define it more than the events and upbringings themselves.

Through my workshop, you can learn the generational preferences and biases of your team members, as well as examining your own. Understanding these characteristics will help you establish the strong relationships needed to create and effectively manage a high-performing team.

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Categories: Work, Workplace