From a bird’s-eye view, it’s clear that the heterogeneous generational stack found in many organizations can offer a much-needed injection of creativity. Yet, up close, generational differences can sometimes cause friction among two or more team members. Read the descriptions below to familiarize yourself with these differences.
- Baby Boomers: As Baby Boomers were growing up, the economy was growing up too. This led them to be optimistic and passionate and have great negotiation skills. While every generation values respect, Baby Boomers define respect as conducting face-to-face conversations and using a deferential tone towards those in authority. A strong work ethic, to a Baby Boomer, means being on-site and in your seat.
- Generation X: When “Gen Xers” were growing up, globalization was just taking off, resulting in layoffs. This shaped their worldview that values efficiency and a need to “get things done”. Gen Xers learned to do things for themselves, and as such, often exhibit independence and a desire to work alone. Generation X prefer keeping red tape and meetings to minimum. Goal achievement is synonymous with work ethic.
- Generation Y (Millennials): The world was in a state of urgency when Millennials were growing up. For instance 911, terrorism, and climate change were all top issues. This created a need for meaning. A company’s mission statement, therefore, can place considerable weight with a Millennial. They prefer collaboration and can be impatient for promotions. Millennials expect work-life integration, meaning they want the ability to take off a couple of hours to handle personal affairs, but to them, a strong work ethic means picking back up during the evening to complete their work.
- Generation Z (iGen): When Gen Z was growing up, they observed recessions and their parents had to be budget-conscious. As such, they are resilient and resourceful and realistic in not expecting their job to be a dream job. They have a can-do, self-starter attitude. Gen Z uses formalities in their dress and how they address others.
Our Bullet Proof® Manager program goes into depth about multi-generational differences, showing you how to shift differences in behavior into optimized team performance.