The Generational Fault Line
Why the differences between generations will reshape your workplace
There is a definite Generational Fault Line that was clearly denoted in a new report I was asked to review. The report, The Great Generational Shift –Why the differences between generations will reshape your workplace was developed by Hudson, a leading provider of specialized recruitment, talent management, and recruitment process outsourcing services in the Americas and worldwide.
This is by far the most comprehensive study of generational issues in the workplace that has given psychographic assessments to a large audience (28,000) and was multicultural (22 languages).
I have written extensively on the Multi-Generational Workplace on this blog. This report largely supports many of the conclusions that I have written but is backed with a comprehensive study of thousands of workers.
Generational Fault Line in Leadership Style
Baby boomers were trained in traditional leadership traits based on leading, decisive, motivating, and persuasive. Baby boomers scored significantly higher in these leadership traits than Gen X and Gen Y. However, the report states:
Today’s workforce does not need to be persuaded of the facts (they can check Google) but instead seeks leaders who can sift through mounds of data and translate it into meaningful insights.
Gen Y has been raised in the era of big data. It is more about being able to analyze data and translate that into business results.
Baby boomer leaders were trained to be strategic in their leadership style. Gen Yers have entered the job market at a time of tremendous change and uncertainty. The report states:
Generation Y is much less ‘strategic’ than Boomers, which may reflect today’s increasingly volatile and uncertain
business environment. It is harder than it was in the past to develop long-term business strategies, and leaders need to be nimble to deal with frequent changes to the competitive landscape.
Long term strategy is far less important in a world where you have to be able to pivot…and pivot quickly.
Do you see the generational fault line pressure building?
Boomers Will Have to Adjust Expectations
The generational fault line is going to shift. If you are a baby boomer, you have to accept it is going to happen! With many baby boomers unable to retire, baby boomers will have to adjust their expectations.
The study finds that baby boomers are less ambitious and altruistic than Gen Y. I cannot speak for everyone, but I am far less ambitious now in my late 50s than I was in my 20s and 30s.
There is no question in my mind that Gen Y is far more altruistic than baby boomers.
The report states:
As new leadership traits creep into the workplace, Boomers will need to be aware of the key drivers behind the visibly different behavior. Avoiding judgment and embracing Boomers have a great deal still to contribute to the workforce in the coming two decades, not only in their own skills but in passing on these skills and mentoring younger generations. Yet they are less ambitious and altruistic than younger people so will need to be motivated to share those skills in other ways.
I previously wrote that it is highly likely you will work for someone who looks like your kid!
Are you ready to mentor the next generation to be leaders? I have expressed concern in the past on where Gen Y will acquire and learn leadership skills given the demise of long term corporate employment.
There is a definite generational fault line between Baby Boomer and Gen Y expectations in the workplace.
Generation Y May Not Be Entitled and Impatient, Just Misunderstood
I have said over and over that:
Gen Y is the way they are because—we made them that way!
Gen Y was raised in an environment where everyone wins. Everyone gets a trophy or blue ribbon. These expectations need to be managed. At the same time, they were raised in a connected world. They are used to constant communications and, therefore, feedback.
I hear complaints that Gen Y do not have interpersonal skills. They have very different interpersonal and communications styles than baby boomers or Gen X.
The report states:
Raised in a connected world, they will also prefer to communicate through non-traditional channels and may need more regular feedback and reinforcement than other generations think necessary.
Organizations need to ensure they are aware of the benefits of a well-rounded individual and provide opportunities for Generation Y to see and experience other traits such as motivation and persuasion in action.
What About Gen X
Lori Hock, Hudson CEO Americas stated:
Generation X will have to become the diplomats in this great generational shift. They will have to learn traditional leadership skills from baby boomers and adapt them to the new workplace. They will need to learn to lead but share with baby boomer leadership and up and coming Gen Y leaders.
Every generation is necessary going forward in to keep the generation fault line from creating an earthquake.
Every generation will need to be making adjustments and accommodations to create a stronger and more united collective.
This is just in time, especially in the USA, as we have much new and re-building to do ahead. Business, as usual, is changing much faster than any new way is replacing it.
Take the time to download and read this report, The Great Generational Shift –Why the differences between generations will reshape your workplace.
What are you doing to keep the generational fault line slowly shifting and preventing a major earthquake?Marc Miller
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