Sunday, November 11, 2012

Talkin' 'bout my Generation

Anna Liotta, author of Unlocking GENERATIONAL CODES, explains the dramatic differences we see in how we approach our professional lives. Managers would do well to study the fundamental differences in orientation workers bring to the workplace. Traditionalist, Baby Boomer, Gen Xer or Millenial; a key to effective leadership in the workplace is understanding one another’s views to obtain a mutual understanding. Anna says, “for most of history, generations have been separated in the workplace due to the hierarchical system inherited from the military leadership training and experiences of the G.I./Veteran generation,” and as a result work peers entering the workforce were predominantly close in age and generational perspectives.” In a recent blog she points out some differences present in the workplace today:

Traditionalists believed in the promises of big institutions and organizations. The golden horizon was that one day you would have the seniority, and then it would be your turn to be the boss, call the shots, lead the troops. You gave your best, and waited with the expectation that eventually, the best would be returned to you.

Baby Boomers flooded the workforce with high hopes for the world and even higher expectations of changing the way work was done. Their secure childhood during the rise of productivity and growth in the high social mood behind them led young Boomers to enter the workforce ready to challenge authority.  

Gen Xers with the boom of the 1970s ending with the bust of the ’80s recession watched their parents scrape and scrap to climb the corporate ladder while hating their bosses, leaders, and jobs, basing their self-worth on the awards and recognition delivered by those same people and institutions. .

Millennials respect authority, but they do not fear it. They have formative years filled with fans, friends, coaches, cheerleaders, and BFFs (Best Friend Forever). Millennials have a very casual relationship with elders and authority figures.

So get ready for the next Generation entering the world of work. Generation Z or Generation I or Internet Generation or the Pluralist Generation, Generation AO (always on), Generation Text -  Digital Natives born after 1989, they bring another completely different frame of reference to the workforce.  

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