In 2015, there were five different generations active in the United States workforce: the Silents, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers. However, the Silents and Gen Zers only accounted for a combined 3% of the workforce, so the majority of today’s employees are Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, or Millennials.
As a manager, it’s important to understand what each of these generations is looking for in a leader so you can effectively manage everyone on your team.
So, what are they looking for?
Baby Boomers tend to hold more traditional views about the workplace compared to other generations. This generation is incredibly results-oriented, so management should keep this in mind when giving feedback or conducting performance reviews. Because they are older than other people in the office, they demand respect from their peers. They may not be the “trophy generation,” but they still want to be recognized for their accomplishments. Don’t forget to acknowledge their successes in team meetings so they know they are still valued by the company.
Management should also respect Baby Boomers’ preferred methods of communication. Other generations may want you to email or instant message them when you have news about the new food and beverage distributors, but Baby Boomers want you to tell them in person or over the phone.
Members of this generation are dedicated to their careers, but they also value family life. Although they don’t place as much weight on flexibility as Millennials, it is still important to them, especially when it allows them to spend time with their kids and significant others. Managers should be willing to work with Gen Xers to come up with a schedule that will allow them to get their work done while also maximizing family time.
Gen Xers are also committed to climbing the corporate ladder, and if they feel a company does not provide them the opportunity to do so, they will have no problem finding another job. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to help them carve out a career path within the company and encourage them to learn new skills and take advantage of training opportunities to help them get there. If they don’t feel the company is supporting their ambitions, these highly skilled and valuable workers will jump ship.
Millennials have made it very clear they value a flexible work schedule, meaning they do not have to work the standard 9-5 shift and may even have the option of working from home. Because they value flexibility in the workplace, they will not respond well to managers who try to micro-manage or breathe down their necks while they work.
Millennials also want feedback, although they may be too shy to ask for it at times. To effectively lead this generation, it’s up to you to tell them how they can improve on a regular basis. Be open and honest with your Millennial employees if you really want to earn their trust and respect.
Which of these generations are you a part of? Which management style do you prefer? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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