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Intergenerational Differences: Bridging the Gap

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Presentation on theme: "Intergenerational Differences: Bridging the Gap"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intergenerational Differences: Bridging the Gap
Curtis L. Baysinger, MD

2 The Problem of Generations
Carl Manheim, German Sociologist, 1952 First to describe generational differences “People are born into a class and develop a particular view of the world based on the lens through which they experience life, just as people are born to a generation which also colors their perspective of their own life experiences. Unlike class, the generation you are born to is unalterable”

3 The Problem of Generations
“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents, they ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are in a state of decay. What, oh what, is to become of them and us?” Socrates (age of 29): 401 BC

4 The Problem of Generations
A group of people defined by age boundaries Those who were born during a certain era and share similar experiences growing up. They have common cultural or social characteristics and attitudes. Their values and attitudes, particularly about work-related topics, tend to be similar, based on their shared experiences during their formative years. President’s Address, American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting, 2002

5 Shared life experiences during their formative years

6 “People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents.”

7 The Problem of Generations
Never before has there been a workforce and workplace so diverse in race, gender, and ethnicity (Zemke, et al., 2000) We have four generations working side-by-side in the workplace of most large US organizations for the first time in history. All have unique experiences and attributes which influence their attitudes towards work. Adapted from: Heritage Foundation. Societal Impactts oft the Generational Gap. 2000

8 Composition US Workforce 2020: US Dept Labor Statistics

9 Some Statistics The labor force is at the lowest rate since the 1930’s and the US birth rate continues to decline. By 2025, 1 in 5 workers will be over age 55. The slowing of the workforce translates to an estimated shortfall of 20 million workers over the next 20 years. Adapted from K. Tyler, Neckties to Nose Rings (2012)

10 The Problem of Generations
Changing demographics It will impact in the workplace, positively/negatively Increases in communication and management Measures to promote teamwork required

11 The Problem of Generations
There is conflict: “They have no work ethic. They’re a bunch of slackers.” “So I told my boss. If you’re looking for loyalty buy a dog.” “If I hear, ‘We tried that in ‘87 one more time I’ll hurl.’” “Lighten up! Work should be fun.” “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that.” “I have a new rule. I will not attend meetings that start after 5 P.M. I have a life”

12 The Problem of Generations
Think of the time on a job you heard comments like: I remember when……. Just do your job! You are right, but I am the boss! NO! The kid wants a promotion after six months on the job

13 Generations Traditionalists/Silent Generation/Matures
1925 – (89 – 69 years of age) Baby Boomers 1946 – 1964 (68 – 50 years of age) Generation X/Baby Busters/13th Generation 1965 – 1981 (49 – 33 years of age) Millennials/Generation Y 1982 – 2000 (32 – 14 years of age) Nexters? 2001 – present (14 – 0 years of age)

14 Traditionalists/Matures
Traditionalists – Million Veterans, WW II Gen, Seniors, Silent Gen, Matures, Veterans Make up about 6% of the workforce today

15 Traditionalists/Matures: Events
Great Depression- Sacrifice and hard times New Deal World War II – Atomic Bomb Social Security Mandatory Industrialization Korean War Radio/telephone

16 Traditionalists/Matures: Values
Hard Work Frugal Dedication & Sacrifice Honor / Respect for Rules Sacrifice: duty before pleasure Conformity

17 Traditionalists/Matures
Leadership Style Direct, Command & Control Communications Formal/memo, One on One Interaction Individualist Other No news is good news Experience is respected Education for many was a dream Rotary Phones Money—save and pay with cash Family is traditional Children are seen, not heard Lifetime career with one employer

18 Baby Boomers

19 Baby Boomers: Events Civil Rights Space Travel Cold War
Sexual Revolution Assassinations Rock and Roll Vietnam War Television Credit Cards

20 Baby Boomers: Events Fewer rules: Childhood environment more nurturing
Prosperous times: Few layoffs Feminism Women entered workforce

21 Baby Boomers: Values Optimism Team Orientation Personal Gratification
Involvement Personal Growth Workaholic/Material Acquisition Competitive

22 Baby Boomers Leadership Style Consensual, Collegial
Interaction Team player, love to have meetings Communication In person Other Love title recognition Money You are valued and needed Education is a birthright Family begins disintegrating Buy now, pay later Affluent

23 Generation X Gen X-ers 1965 – 1977 70.1 Million
Twenty Somethings, Thirteeners, Baby Busters, Post Boomers Currently make up 29% of workforce

24 Generation X/ Events Fall of Berlin Wall Women’s Liberation Watergate
AIDS Cynical

25 Generation X/ Events Energy Crisis Video Games Latchkey Upbringing
Personal Computers Turbulent economic times – downturn in 80s, upswing in 90s

26 Generation X/ Values Diversity Techno Literacy Fun & Informality
Self Reliance/Autonomy Pragmatism/Results oriented “Work to Live” Friends with their child Career security vs job security

27 Generation X Leadership Style Everyone is the same Challenge others
Interaction Entrepreneur Communications Direct Immediate Electronic Other Freedom is the best reward Latch Key Kids Money cautious….save-save Education is a way to get there Sorry to interrupt,but how am I doing?

28 Millennials Millennials 1978 - 1994 69.7 Million
Nexters, Generation Y, Generation 2001, Nintendo Gen, Gen Net Internet Connection Currently make up 20%

29 Millennial/Events Oklahoma City School Shootings Technology/Internet
Clinton/Lewinsky Conservative Values

30 Millennial/Events Fall of Berlin Wall
O. J. Simpson & Casey Anthony Trials Columbine and Norwegian Shootings September 11th Tragedy Iran and Afghanistan Wars- Global perspectives Some economic prosperity- Market melt downs

31 Millennial/Values Optimistic/Prosperity has increased during their lifetimes Team Oriented Civic Duty Confident Achievement Oriented Respect for Diversity Social

32 Millennials Leadership Style TBD Interaction Participative
Communications Voice mail Cell phone Other Meaningful work Whenever I want it I can push & click Will work with other bright & creative people Merged families Earn money to spend it

33 What really matters in the workplace?

34 Generational Interaction
Leadership and Authority: Traditionalist  Leadership - Hierarchy   Authority - Respectful Baby Boomer  Leadership - Consensus   Authority – Love/Hate Generation X  Leadership - Competence  Authority - Unimpressed Millennials Leadership - Teamwork Authority – Respectful, but autonomous

35 Generation Interaction
Matures and Boomers may have a tendency not to question or challenge authority or the status quo. This may cause confusion and resentment among the Xers and Millennials who have been taught to speak up.

36 Generational Interaction
Xers and Millennials who have had different life experiences and communicate with people differently, may fail to actively listen to Boomers and Matures, thereby missing valuable information and guidance.

37 Generational Interaction
Xers and Millennials Prefer electronic communication. Do not like meetings. Many have not developed listening skills. Traditionalists and Boomers Prefer face-to-face communication. Boomer bosses like to have at least one meeting each week with employees

38 Generational Feedback
Feedback styles that may appear informative and helpful to one generation might seem formal and “preachy” to another. Feedback an “Xer” thinks is immediate and honest can seem hasty or even inappropriate to other generations. Some older generations have been told that there is a time and place for feedback. Younger generations haven’t necessarily been taught this “rule”.

39 Generational Feedback

40 Generational Feedback
Matures seek no applause, but appreciate a subtle acknowledgement that they have made a difference. Boomers are often giving feedback to others, but seldom receiving, especially positive feedback. Xers need positive feedback to let them know they are on the right track Millennials are used to praise and may mistake silence for disapproval. They need to know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

41 Generational Feedback
Matures-“No news is good news” Boomers-“Feedback once a year and lots of documentation” Xers-“Sorry to interrupt, but how am I doing?” Mellinials-“Feedback whenever I want at the push of a button.”

42 How to make the workplace situation better

43 Generational Challenges in the Workplace
Poor communication Decreased productivity, quality, & innovation Misunderstood attitudes, relationships & working environments Less engaged volunteers & coworkers Lack of motivation, initiative, and team work

44 Bridging the Generation Gaps
As a worker/group participant Appreciate differences Acknowledge your interdependency Appreciate what you have in common

45 Bridging the Generation Gaps
As a worker/group participant Discuss expectations Inquire about immediate tasks Look for ways to cut bureaucracy and red tape Keep up with technology

46 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Expect your leader to: / If you are a leader : Focus on goals Make everyone feel included Break the bonds of tradition Show employees the future Encourage balance

47 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Getting along with Traditionalists Honor the chain of command Value the legacy they have built Value their experience Appreciate their dedication Communicate one-on-one Learn the organizational history

48 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Getting along with Boomers Show respect Choose face-to-face conversations Give people your full attention Learn the organization’s history

49 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Getting along with Xers Get to the point Use Give them space Get over the notion of dues paying Lighten up

50 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Remember the Golden Rule? “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Change it to the Platinum Rule “Treat others as they would like to be treated”

51 Personal Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace

52 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Wishing people were more like you is not an effective strategy to success Build a community of relationships within the organization Leverage those relationships Conduct your own generational audit of the organization Develop a healthy work/life balance

53 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Assess your and the organization’s values Are mine, the persons who work here, and the stated and unstated values of the organization similar? What are the real rules by whom gets what in the organization?

54 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Ask yourself about the Formal Dimension: What am I supposed to do for the organization? What help can I expect? How and when will I be evaluated? What will I be paid? What influcence will my evaluation have on that?

55 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Assess your Psychological Dimension: How hard will I have to work? What recognition, financial or other satisfaction, will I receive for my efforts? Do I need advice on assessing the reward/work balance

56 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Find a mentor: “Wise and Trusted Counselor” – Homer: “The Odyssey” Someone you would like to be Someone who can help you get to where you want to go Someone who : “Coaches – gives correction without creating resentment” John Wooden

57 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Expect to fail: “To achieve your dreams you must embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you are not failing, you are probably not really moving forward” John Maxwell Be a professional: “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing them” Julius W. Erving, II (Dr J)

58 References 1. Zemke, R., Raines, C., & Filipczak, B. (1999). Generations at work: Managing the clash of veterans, boomers, Xers and nexters in your workplace. New York: AMACOM Books. 2. Twenge JM, Campbell SM. Generational differencesin psychological traits and their impact on the workplace. J Mang Psychol 2008; 23:


60 Traditionalists/Matures
Conservative somewhat dressy clothing Neatly trimmed hair Owns American Golf Clubs Memories of Marx Brothers, Sinatra, Big Bands, Big Cars TV included Ed Sullivan, Bonanza, Father Knows Best Heroes include FDR, Superman, Babe Ruth, Dimaggio, Patton, MacArthur Memorabilia include Juke Boxes, Blondie, Lone Ranger, Charlie McCarthy

61 Baby Boomers May wear designer glasses, whatever is trendy Longer Hair
Designer Suites Memories of Smothers Brothers, Beatles, Lassie, Drive In, Mickey Mouse Club TV includes Laugh In, Westerns, Lassie, Mod Squad, Carson, MASH, Sunday Night Disney Heroes include John and Jackie Kennedy, MLK, John Glenn, John Lennon, Gandi Memorabilia includes fallout shelters, TV dinners, Hula Hoops, Peace Sign, Poodle Skirts

62 Generation X May wear functional clothing, have tattoos, any style hair, naval or nose rings Memories of Tonya Harding, Snoop Doggy Dog, Beavis & Butthead, Video Games TV includes SNL, Friends, 90210, Cosby, Heroes include Michael Jordan, Ron Reagan, Magic Johnson Memorabilia include Brady Bunch, Pet Rocks, Platform shoes, ET, The Simpsons, Sesame Street, Cabbage Patch Dolls

63 Millennials May wear Retro Clothing, Spiked , bleached or “in style” hair, Body Piercing Pagers Memories of Goo-Goo Dolls, Trench coat Mafia, 9-11 TV includes Dawson Creek, The WB, Malcom in the Middle, Who wants to be a Millionaire, That 70’s Show Heroes include NYPD/NYFD, Parents, Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Mia Hamm, Tiger Woods Memorabilia include, Barney, Teenage Mutant Turtles, American Girl Dolls, Spice Girls, X-Games, Oprah, Rosie

64 Bridging the Generation Gaps
We have absolutely nothing in common!” What bugs you? Drives you crazy?

65 Bridging the Generation Gaps
Millennials Find areas that challenge you Encourage your boss/group participants to ask for your opinion Ask to collaborate Find a mentor Realize that timely feedback may be on their schedule, not yours

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