Most HR Managers will tell you that understanding what motivates the different generational groups in the workplace is the key to sustaining your best people.

But what drives effective or ineffective generational relationships?



Research analysis often stereotypes the groups, Generation Y are seen as demanding, narcissistic, Generation X are career minded cynics and Baby Boomers are workaholics and IT adverse. As is typical with stereotypes or descriptors, problems and contradictions exist.

However, in order to lead and coach these groups effectively, I believe the manager needs to be aware of his or her own generational outlook and avoid judging by increasing understanding of the factors that influence other generations.

For example, Generation Y, who were raised by the Baby Boomers have been coached, praised and encouraged to be confident and participate, so their attitude and eagerness is what society created. To keep up with them we have to invent new ways or positions to keep them motivated, more responsible, more challenged, more variety.

While their leadership and communication style may be diametrically opposed to some, you can’t forget that this generation have learnt to collaborate with multiple online friends at an international level in virtual worlds. Their experiences of making group decisions while engaging in multiplayer online games equip them for the demands of today’s fast changing business environment.

With 50 percent of the world’s population under 30 we can’t afford to rule out the leadership potential of younger employees.

Jill Teeling MBA, MSHR
Human Resource Manager


Allied Risk runs Leadership and Manager Courses incorporating an understanding of the differences between generations, their views and expectations – please check out our Leadership course.

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