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Generational Leadership

Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y Must Learn To Work Together Toward Success

February 1, 2012 by Anne Sandberg in Generational Leadership
Generational Leadership

Just as technology has changed and developed in the workplace, from typewriters to computers and email, dial-up to wifi, pagers to cell phones to bbm messages, so have the people inside the workplace. Now, more than ever, we see a cross over between generations in the workplace, which can be challenging at times. As both products of chronological age and the time in which we grew up, people from different generations and age groups have rather different attitudes, values, beliefs and motivations from one another. These differences can easily lead to misunderstanding, miscommunication and even outright conflict in the workplace. A person’s outlook on the world has significant implications on how he or she treats, works with, and values other people. Recent research and organizational experience has shown that generational mix can be a potent problem that should be dealt with through education, tolerance and increased understanding of the issues.

Consultant and Speaker, Ira Wolfe recently published an article titled, “Should Employers Care That Gen Y Can’t Write?”  The article covers generational differences and expectations when it comes to cursive writing versus block letters and handwritten notes versus emails. Wolfe suggests that the clarity and appropriateness of a message is more important than the vehicle of communication.

ReadyToManage realizes the importance of understanding these generational issues and offers great tools in helping employees better understand their generational qualities and ways to work collectively with other generations toward success. Our tools include:

FREE Generational Leadership Booklet
This free 12-page booklet on generational differences in the workplace includes an overview of the four generations currently in the workplace including Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, and discusses how to manage staff and build relationships across the generational groups.

Generational Style Assessment: $14.95
If you and your organization are ready to take the next step in exploring Generational issues in the workplace, try our Generational Style Assessment which helps determine an individual’s influencing style when relating to people from different age groups or generations in the workplace and helps them to adjust or “flex” their own approach. A brief synopsis of the four age groups used in this assessment is included in the final report. This also shows the four generational influencing styles likely to be most effective in relation to each age group that can be employed by an individual.

The four styles (Steering, Empowering, Building, and Supporting) arise from intersecting two dimensions; the level of clarity and focus required by an individual or group, and the level of energy or engagement that is needed. It aims to:

  • Raise people’s awareness about the very different behaviors and characteristics of the four age groups that we identify (20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s+).
  • Alert individuals to their own relating style biases, and show them four discrete influencing behaviors.
  • Help people to take age differences more seriously in seeking to get the best out of everyone and contribute to getting all groups to work together more harmoniously.

In a review of this Assessment, Wolfe noted that,

“The Generational Style Assessment is a guaranteed conversation starter for helping manage a multi-generational workforce and reducing misunderstandings. For several years, Jon Warner and Anne Sandberg created a great questionnaire using real-life scenarios that every employee can relate to. The assessment is easy to complete and the booklet that comes with it includes excellent explanations and an excellent model introducing different styles that will be effective in managing each generation. Their research and materials are so good that they served as the inspiration for a chapter in my new book.”- Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization.
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About Anne Sandberg

With a degree in Experimental Psychology and a masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Anne Sandberg has 25+ years of experience in the human resources, training and management consulting arenas. Anne is President of ReadyToManage, Inc. and can be contacted at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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