One size fits all…right?

One size fits all…right?

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For the first time in many managers’ working lives, Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y – are working side by side. To maintain profitability and stability, managers must take some steps toward adjusting their style to be effective across these four distinct generations.

Work itself is viewed differently by each generation:

Veterans view work as an obligation that must be done

Boomers view work as tumultuous at times, but a career as an exciting adventure.

Gen X approach work with an entrepreneurial spirit and see it as a personal challenge.

Gen Y believe work should be personally fulfilling and inspiring. It is only a means to an end.

You don’t have to be a generational expert (which I’m not) to see that a one-size approach to management will not work given the inherent differences of each of these generational groups.

Here are some tips from George S. May International that can assist managers to adjust their usual style to meet the needs of the entire team:

  • Understand how different communication mediums are perceived and consider the unintended consequences of communication styles. Notes, e-mails, voicemails, text messages and meetings are all perceived differently by each generation.
  • Be specific when giving instructions. Clearly outline deliverables, timetables and expectations and double-check.
  • Create a dialogue. Open communication is more important than ever, and encouraging employees to voice opinions and ideas is good practice.

The key ingredient to adjusting management style – regardless of generation – is self-awareness.  Managers must consider how their style may be perceived by others and be flexible enough to adjust it, when necessary for the good of the team.


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