How to Lead 4 Generations at Work
Global life expectancy has improved, allowing healthy individuals to live well to 85, 90, or even more than 100 years old. This translates to having four generations at the workplace all at the same time.
While it’s a positive thing, having four generations working at the same time is unprecedented. Image, your great-grandparents, work with your grandparents, your parents, and you. In this article, we’ll discuss the four age brackets and how a leader should approach this new multigenerational workforce.
Yes, assuming an individual of 74 years old is still working as a VP, he can have his daughter of 54 years old working alongside him in the same office as general manager. His grandson of 36 years old has just been promoted as a manager and a great-granddaughter of 16 years old has just been accepted as an entry-level waitress.
Here are the four generations and their age brackets.
They were born between 1944 and 1964 and are currently 54 to 74 years old. There are 76 million of them in the USA alone.
They were born between 1965 – 1979 and are currently between
39 to 53 years old. There are 82 million people in the USA.
Gen Y, or the Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. They
are currently between 24 to 38 years old.
There are 2 types of Gen Y based on their ages.
Gen Y.1 = 24 to 28 years old. They are 31 million people in the USA.
Gen Y.2 = 28 to 38. There are 42 million people in the USA.
It’s the newest generation to be named and were born between 1995 and 2015. They are currently between 3 to 23 years old with nearly 74 million people in the USA.
What are the challenges of a multigenerational workforce, then?
First, every generation has its own way to work with the culture, and it brings its own to the corporate culture.
Young people tend to be more vibrant in their communication style. And the older an individual, the more mature he or she tends to behave. Each individual and his or her age group determines the overall corporate culture, at least to a certain degree.
Second, each generation has its own upbringing that affects how its member communicates.
How an individual communicates is partly determined by their age group, upbringing, and other psycho-social-economic backgrounds. And the interaction between individuals of different generations will bring variety to the table.
Third, each generation brings its own way to get things done.
The Millennials and Generation Z are used to digital technologies, the Internet, and smartphones, which place them at an advantage today. They tend to be faster and more “instant” oriented than the other two older generations. Baby Boomers and Generation X must catch up with them in today’s workplace when it comes to handling technologies.
Fourth, each generation has its own prejudice or preconceived notion on other generations.
It’s human, and it’s expected. However, too much prejudice isn’t healthy.
In conclusion, having four generations working together can be quite challenging due to the intergenerational gap. However, with empathy and understanding of each generation’s characteristics, the management should be able to find common ground that would make working together possible.
Felipe’s work focuses on helping clients acquire, develop and transition leadership talent through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services.
Prior to joining Alder Koten, Felipe was a partner with Amrop in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He has performed work in multiple industries serving clients such as Home Depot, Amway, Grupo Senda, Grupo Industrial Saltillo, and FEMSA, among others.
His professional experience also includes various executive positions in Commercial and Corporate Banking with Confia-Citibank, Banorte and Banca Afirme. Felipe is also Member of the Board of ‘Fundacion Tarahumara Jose A. Llaguno ABP’.
Felipe earned a bachelor´s degree in Business Administration from the Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and is fluent in English and Spanish.
About Alder Koten
Alder Koten helps clients build boards that deliver value to management and to investors. Alder Koten consultants maintain close ties to outstanding leaders and potential directors, in multiple industries and geographies. These relationships support our ability to identify and evaluate exceptional candidates for every appointment.
We help shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently, includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.