August 4th, 2011
Generational Differences Among Team Members
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All team members are different.
According to Lancaster and Stillman, authors of Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work, there are four distinct generational career categories:
Here is a breakdown of categories.
Traditionalists are generally older, loyal, dependable workers
who put aside personal gain for universal goals. They’ve been shaped by the Great Depression and World Wars, and are accustomed to sacrificing for the common good. They have simple career goals, pre
dominately, to be accepted as valuable contributors to the work group, provide a decent living for their families and retire with enough money in the bank to live comfortably and take a few vacations now and then. Envision President Jimmy Carter, without his political af
fluence, working in your organization. He commands a wealth of valuable knowledge that books can’t teach and is accustom to doing things a certain way … without the slightest deviation.
Baby Boomers are creatures in search of balance. They were born in the late forties to early sixties, never touched a computer in high school, remember the Cuban missile crisis, witnessed the 1960’s civil rights movement, remember the introduction of birth control pills, lost confidence in Democracy during the Nixon scandals, and naively believed that a college degree was the cure for all ills. They seek recognition and face-time with the boss, search for meaning in life outside the company, live and die by the television, and are very competitive due to the large number of people in their generation versus the available jobs. In many instances, having to answer to a younger boss, they feel overlooked and undervalued for their steadfast contribution and the knowledge they possess. They live in a perpetual world of “fearful” forced transformation where new technologies and processes seem to conspire to keep them one step behind.
Generation Xers, the so-called unknown generation, born after 1961, are perpetual skeptics, impacted by the high divorce rates, urban violence and the explosion in new technology. They’ve watched the failure of many respected institutions and grand schemes such as the War on Drugs, Safe and Secure US Borders and the promise of energy independence. They dislike authority and rigid work requirements. Experiencing the rise of video games and the internet, they are extremely resourceful and independent thinkers. They could care less about face-time with the boss or interaction with coworkers. They prefer an isolated work environment with transparent parameters and goal-oriented instructions.
Generation Xers are more “me-right-now” individuals. It not to say they’re more malicious or unfeeling than previous generations. It simply means their brains are wired differently. Unlike Baby Boomers, they aren’t driven by the broad “Peace Corp” reforms their actions might have on society. Indicative of the guy who created the computer Love Virus; Onel de Guzman didn’t consider the billions in damages his actions would cause. Rather, it was all about establishing himself as a master programmer among his peers.
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, born 1978-2000 and the children of Baby Boomers, are overly realistic, absorbed by the internet, masters of digital communications, used to a global economy, driven by the language of market efficiency and consumer choice. They are the most tech-savvy, most eco-conscious generation in America. They like to collaborate with their peers and are loyal as long as it’s convenient. A recent survey of over two hundred job recruiters classified Millennials as poor performers in need of an attitude adjustment. Some managers refer to Millennials as the “oh, yeah” generation, meaning when discussing their lack of initiative and pointing out tasks they’ve left incomplete, they say, “oh, yeah”. (I didn’t think of that.)