As a manager, you should quickly be able to pick up on the makeup of your team. Don’t forget to consider the generational differences. It is just as important as different communication styles and how your team members deal with change. Any leader who fails to consider this particular difference will encounter issues in the communication arena.

Why should leaders care about these differences? When speaking about communication, lack of empathy or understanding of generational differences will likely result in conflict that affects employee performance. Issues with employee performance will reflect negatively on you as their manager. It’s worth the effort to take the time and see just who is working for you.

Generational Characteristics

There are five different generations that are alive in the work place today:

  • In-betweeners
  • Baby boomers (older and younger divisions)
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y
  • Millennials


Each generation has its own characteristics. Let’s begin with the In-betweeners. They are no stranger to frugality as people made due with less because there was a war on. They are the first atomic generation with the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan in World War II. Also, television was new to them. People were used to listening to the radio, which left more to the imagination. Women raised the children and men were the breadwinners.

With Baby Boomers, the group is large. Older boomers most likely had WWII parents. They had television, but it was too new to be advanced beyond a few channels. Moms still raised the kids. The Cold War was brewing, as well as the Space Race. Several political figures were assassinated, as well. Younger boomers experienced oil problems that led to long gas lines. A president was impeached, divorce rates grew and moms began to join the work force leading the “latch key” kids.

Generation X saw the beginnings of MTV. They were latch key kids, products of divorce, enhanced television technology and a more permissive generation. Child poverty rates soared during this generation.

Generation Y was ushered in as global citizens. Computers were introduced and everyone wanted one. Because both parents worked and women were pursuing careers, they were the first to have “play groups” among children. War began again with the Desert Storm conflict. These kids are environmentally conscious and more social than previous generations.

Finally, we get to Millennials. They are the generation that has benefited most from progressive technology. They grew up with computers in schools. These kids are more confident and happier than some in previous generations. Because everything is immediate, they come to expect instant gratification. They are community conscious and looking to make the world a better place. They have experienced 9-11 and get a view of global terrorism through television and the Internet.

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