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Hybrid Leadership:

Leading Through the Ebb and Flow of a

Multi-Generational Workforce

Dr. Janet Durgin
This presentation presents realistic
challenges leaders face in relation to
understanding how to effectively lead in
the mixed, contemporary, generational
workforce of today.

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Traits and trends: from Boomers to Yers and Zers -the
history of Americas future

Solving the generational puzzle: Boomers to Bloggers,
myths or realities?

The generation collision: collision or collaboration?

One piece at a time

Executive Summary
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In order to lead effectively, leaders must
seek to understand the past, present and
future generations to know how history
precedes and influences those generations
The Colonial Cycle: 1580 1700 (600,000)
Puritans, Cavaliers, Glorious, Enlighteners

The Revolutionary Cycle: 1701 - 1791 (8,000,000)
Awakeners, Liberty, Republicans, Compromisers

The Civil War Cycle: 1792 - 1859 (50,000,000)
Transcendentals, Gilded, Progressives

The Great Power Cycle: 1860 1942 (200,000,000)
Missionaries, Lost, G.I.s, Silenters

The Millennial Cycle: 1943 2069
(180,000,000 340,000,000 projected by 2025)
Boomers, 13ers, Millennials

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The Cycles
G.I. Generation (G.I.ers)
Born: 1901 1924
Type: Civic

Silent Generation (Silenters)
Born: 1925 1944
Type: Adaptive

Boom Generation (Boomers)
Born: 1945 1964
Type: Idealist

Thirteenth Generation (13ers/Xer/Yers)
Born: 1965 1990
Type: Reactive

Millennial Generation (Millennials)
Born: 1991
Type: Civic (?)

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The Generations
A generation is a cohort-
group whose length
approximates the span of a
phase of life and whose
boundaries are fixed by
peer personality.
(Strauss & Howe, 1991)

Radio Babies (Silent Gen)
Baby Boomers (Boomers)
Gen Xers (Baby Busters)
Gen Yers (Generation Why)

Largest Group: Gen Y (80 million) strong
-Baby Boomers (78 million)
-Silent Gen (63 million)
-Gen X (48 million)
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2000)

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Workforce Generations
Radio Baby (1925 1944) Baby Boomer (1945 1964)
Remember when you can entertain
yourself without a TV
One day wanted to join Mickey Mouse
Remember when TV was black and
Knew who Elvis was before he wore
Could stretch a buck 9 ways to Sunday Used a typewriter to write your term
Mowed your yard with a push mower Saw every episode of Leave It To
First car had running-boards on it Watched the 1
mans trip to the moon
on TV
Listened to Ricky Nelson on the radio Remember Woodstock
Belief system shaped by:
1) Parents views
2) Community values
3) Views of respected political leaders
Belief system shaped by:
1) Views of immediate family
2) Friends values and views
3) Political events

You Know You Are
(Gravett & Throckmorton, 2007)
Gen Xer (1965 1976) Gen Yer (1977 1990)
Favorite movies were either Star Wars
or ET
Were using a computer by the time you
learned how to read
Remember Atari and many hours of
Have always had an answering
Road trips with family meant riding
backwards in the station wagon
Had an antique record player and a CD
was a given
Totally remember, like, the days of,
like, gag me with a spoon
Have always had cable TV with a
remote control
Know who shot JR Make your popcorn in the microwave,
not on the stove
Actually owned and played vinyl
The Internet has existed as long as you
Belief system shaped by:

1) World events as seen on TV
2) Friends values and views
3) A handful of respected coworkers
Belief system shaped by:

1) Community values and lifestyles
2) Grandparents views
3) World events as seen on TV
You Know You Are
(Gravett & Throckmorton, 2007)
Enter the Millennials (1991)

Generational Differences

Enter the Millennials (1991)

What scenario describes your experience managing
them? (75 Million have now joined the workforce)

You just explained appropriate corporate protocol only to discover their
questionable comments and postings sprinkled throughout Facebook,
FourSquare and Twitter

You are perplexed by their informal communication style, both written
and verbal, with seemingly cryptic acronyms and expressive emoticons

You spent thousands of dollars on new technology for them; trained and
accommodated them, only to see them leave for the seemingly cooler
company with a younger culture

You keep seeing ear-buds when they're hanging out in the office
actually, why does it look like they're hanging out as opposed to

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In order to lead effectively, leaders must
first be able to separate the generational
myths from the realities
Radio Babies
Are afraid of change
Are too old to work
Baby Boomers
Cant handle technology
Are too bossy
Gen Xers
Are not loyal
Have no work ethics
Gen Yers
Are extremely impatient
Cannot add value

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Myth or Reality?
Boomers vs. Millennials
Boomers vs. Millenials

Right-to-entitlement syndrome
Raised by parents who praised them for every little thing
they did
Unrealistic expectations
Used to machines doing everything they want
Expect cutting edge technology
Expect conflict-free workplace
Need constant and continual feedback and praise
Expect high salaries at entry-level

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In order to understand how to bridge the
generational divides, understanding of the
collisions must first be obtained

Debate over work ethics
Work/life balance wanted by Gen Yers & Millennials
Putting in their time
Loyalty, trust, respect issues
Career /state-of-the-art technology options
Educational/training opportunities
Relaxed dress codes
Flex time/Telecommuting options

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4-level generations working under one roof

Across Generations:
Radio Babies: Express appreciation for their efforts
Baby Boomers: Emphasize their need for input
Gen Xers: Be straight forward and honest, focus on expected results
Gen Yers: Emphasize business reasons for changes they are asked to

Provide constructive feedback
Focus on the issues
Emphasize key points
Be specific about what you think or want
Acknowledge others point of view
Avoid hot button language

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(Gravett & Throckmorton, 2007)
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So how do leaders build a bridge that will
lead their multi-generational workers to the
halfway point? By building the bridge one
plank at a time, carefully and strategically
Emotional Intelligence (EI) trumps IQ and tech skills?
Yeah, right.

Self-awareness : knowing ones strengths, weaknesses, drives,
values, impacts on others
Self-regulation: controlling or redirecting disruptive impulses
and moods
Motivation: relishing achievement for its own sake
Empathy: understanding others emotional makeup
Social Skill: building rapport with others to move them in
desired directions

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Broaden Your Horizons
(Goleman, 2009)
Strive to understand the Millennial type and be willing
to adapt your leadership styles to them.

Key characteristics Millennials look for in leadership:

Active listener
Supportive and understanding work/life balance needs
Mentoring ability
Encouraging and supportive attitude

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Adapt to the Future Workforce
You must know yourself in order to lead effectively in a
multi-generational workforce

Do you know your
Strengths and weaknesses
How you perform reader or listener?
Your value system
Where you belong
What you can contribute

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Lets Get Personal, Manage Yourself
(Drucker, 2009)
In order to lead effectively across multi-generations,
leaders must:

Seek to understand the past, present and future generations to
know how history precedes and influences those generations

Be able to separate the generational myths from the realities

Be willing to bridge the generational divides by seeking to
understand the collisions and how collaboration can be found

Build the bridge one plank at a time, carefully and
strategically, even if it means remodeling your own self

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Colvin, J. (2009). How to Build great leaders. Fortune, 160(11), 70-79.

Drucker, P. (2009). Managing oneself. Harvard Business Review OnPoint,
Winter 2009, 32-42.

Goleman, D. (2009). What makes a leader. Harvard Business Review OnPoint,
Winter 2009, 44-53.

Gravett, L, & Throckmorton, R. (2007). Bridging the generation gap. Franklin
Lakes: Career Press.

Strauss, W, & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: the history of America's future,
1584 to 2069. New York: Harper Perennial.
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