HR Tips & Answers

GEN X LEADERS … ARE THEY REALLY DIFFERENT & WHAT CAN THEY DO FOR YOUR ORGANISATION?

So who are these “Gen X’ers” and why are they considered to be so different?  Gen X refers to those born between 1965 and 1980.

As we know leadership styles have evolved over the years with each generation having a different and distinct approach to guiding business and employees.

It’s been said that Gen X have bought a fresh perspective and innovative techniques to the leadership table.  They have a different view to the previous generation of leaders who were influenced by the necessity of post war recovery (Baby Boomers 1946 – 1964).

Gen X is characterised by their ability to combine traditional values with the more modern leadership approaches.  They grew up in a period of rapid change both in technology and society.

It’s been shown that Gen X leaders have some unique qualities and values that set them apart from the generations before and after them.  It is quite common to see the following qualities in a Gen X leader:

 

  • Flexibility and resilience
  • Focus on work life balance
  • Technology & innovation focused
  • Cooperative leadership
  • Goal and result oriented.

 

So why do Gen X in particular demonstrate these characteristics?  The general consensus is that they’ve been through more economic downturns than the Great Depression and major technological changes that have been described as the modern  Industrial Revolution!

As a result, they have developed the ability to be more flexible & innovative while navigating ever-changing and  uncertain times.

Gen X leaders recognise the importance of a healthy lifestyle – including the all important work-life balance, making them more inclined to understand and support employees requesting flexible work arrangements.  They understand the impact of employee wellbeing on attracting the right employees, workplace culture and productivity of a business.

Understanding the major changes in technology, including the introduction of the Internet, our Gen X leaders are well equipped to use new innovations, not only their personal lives, but in business as well.  The ability to streamline communication, workplace processes, introduce change and the like, makes them some of the most innovative leaders in today’s business environment.

They are seen as a more collaborative generation of leaders who value diversity of input into their decision making.  Inclusivity and creativity are seen as the by-words of the Gen X leader.  They are goal oriented and are inclined to relinquish control to their teams; trusting them to deliver the expected outcomes without the drawbacks of micromanagement.  They are the motivating leaders who empower their employees.

So how can you harness the power of Gen X leaders in your organisation?  Using interpersonal, face-to-face and digital communications to bridge the gap between generations in the workplace can be seen as the strong suit of your Gen X leaders.

Encourage your Gen X in leading, encouraging communication and cooperation between your workplace  generations from Boomers to Millennials to the newest Gen Z – remember a cohesive & energised workforce is productive!

By combining the needs and inputs of all employees, your Gen X leaders can help to promote innovation and value adding, continuous improvement and increased efficiencies.

What have you got to lose?  An inclusive, collaborative and innovative business is a must in today’s world.

Published: Friday, October 13th, 2023
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