Tag Archives: baby boomers

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Generational dignity

Generational Dignity, Is That What’s Missing?

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The psychology of work has never been more important. Generational dignity suggests that workers on either end of the generational framework are feeling a lack of respect. Is this part of the missing link for generational harmony?

In a strong economy with low unemployment numbers are there still workers? Some suggest that there are plenty of workers in the traditional or baby boomer categories and some suggest that there are plenty of generation Z workers.

Is it true? Do workers exist on each end of the continuum that just aren’t working?

Generational Dignity

Recently, I was in a discussion with a good friend and colleague. We were discussing aspects the workforce and the availability of workers. He has some belief, which I share, that there are workers, often just not those that organizations find attractive.

One example is the people in the older generations. They often have tons of knowledge and expertise, and informal surveys suggest that they would work longer or reenter the workforce for the right opportunity.

Surprisingly, or not, that opportunity doesn’t always focus on pay. It often is the opportunity to be respected and to have dignity in their job. A department store greeter isn’t necessarily dignified, nor is the shopping cart collector. Should a person with more than 40 years of experience be doing those jobs?

Somewhat in contrast, there are often job opportunities that are more physical in nature. The manual labor jobs. The jobs that require lifting, moving, or greater physical effort. Should some of these jobs be more dignified to encourage the most recent workforce generations to perform?

Our generational challenges are often focused on differences. One of the most fundamental aspects of our workplace culture is that we all want respect (a commonality), yet we often define it differently.

Could workplace dignity make a difference?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Baby Boomer Leadership, Can You Survive It?

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Have you asked yourself how you will survive baby boomer leadership or a baby boomer culture? Regardless of which of the five workforce generations you represent, have you found yourself struggling with the mindset associated with baby boomer leadership?

Baby boomer leadership appreciative strategies

It might be important to define baby boomer leadership. What is it?

I believe it represents a style of leadership, the atmosphere of a workplace culture, and the values associated with respect that is different from emerging leadership trends.

Baby Boomer Leadership

Baby boomer leadership might be characterized in this way:

  • Leaning towards authoritarian. Perhaps not entirely, but by comparison to what many workplace professionals desire today it is much more, “do it, or die.”
  • Experience matters more than knowledge. Years of experience appear to be most important. More recent workforce generations often bring much new age knowledge, but yet are often discounted since they lack experience.
  • Respect is based on authority level. Respect is given, but mostly to those who represent a position of rank (supervisor, manager, etc.). The front line and lower ranking employees are often exempt from opinions or thought contributions.

Does any of this describe the culture at your workplace? If yes, I know why you are still reading this. The question now becomes, what can you do about it?

Surviving a Culture

Workplace or organizational culture is very unique, perhaps as unique as a fingerprint. Culture defines all that the organization is, and all that it does. Mission and vision statements are also closely connected with culture, or at least they should be.

Here are a few strategies for surviving a leadership culture that might ebb with your flow:

  1. Stay true. Remain true to who you are, being likeable is important but so is respect. Taking a position against the leadership team might end badly. Find some balance but maintain your own self-respect.
  2. Think before speaking. Impulse control might be important for you and make sure you practice it even in the most difficult situations. Learn to feel it coming and avoid doing any actions or behaviors out of impulse.
  3. Don’t expect change. Most likely nothing you do will change the culture unless the opportunity develops for your honest input. You might not change others but you can manage your reactions to the environment you are working in.
  4. Stay respectful. If your workplace culture exists around an authoritarian approach be sure to signal respect to others and especially those of higher ranks. Respect is what they expect and the better you deliver they more enjoyable your work might become.
  5. Flow. Although your temptations might be to resist or rebel, sometimes going with the flow is what will help you survive. Your current position might not be the greatest but the alternative might be much worse.

Evolving Leadership Trends

Leadership trends continue to evolve and the characteristics for best practices of modern leadership are pivoting.

There is chatter about new age thinking, such as servant leadership and other models. In many cases these are older theories or styles that are remerging with a new spin. Perhaps different from what the baby boomers grew up with and what they still role model today.

That doesn’t imply who is right or wrong, or what is good or bad. It implies that generational differences are putting pressure on current thinking and trends which might result in the desire for a different leadership approach.

Are you concerned about surviving a baby boomer leadership culture?

Sometimes going with the flow is the best advice of all.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Does My Baby Boomer Boss Respect Me?

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Generational differences, that is how most people label challenges associated with communication and working with others who have a significant difference in birth year from their own. Do you have a baby boomer boss that respects you?

baby boomer boss

Occasionally you might hear the words generational respect, but we very seldom hear words or phrases connected with the idea of generational commonalities. Discussion points, debates, or arguments typically open with the concept of differences.

If we think just for a minute about commonalities, one of the biggest things that all generations have in common is that they all want respect.

When we consider the idea of respect spread across all levels of authority or the organizational ladder it is something that most employees are interested to ensure exists. Respect in the workplace can certainly exist across any level or hierarchy and can sometimes be increasingly sensitive when working across multiple generations.

Many workplaces today have traditionals or baby boomers that might report to a gen X or millennial boss, but often it is more common that the more recent generations including gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) have a boss who is a baby boomer. So it might beg the question, does my baby boomer boss respect me?

Are You Respected?

Let’s consider a few areas that indicate respect.

  • Listens well. Communication skills, especially listening are an important part of workplace harmony. We can probably attribute many of our workplace challenges, performance problems, or productivity issues to ineffective communication. If the conversations between you and your boss are well grounded in good listening skills or techniques, then you have a good foundation for mutual respect.
  • Asks meaningful questions. In the workplace people are typically driving towards results. Critical thinking, solving problems, and especially asking questions not only produce a wider array of information but also contribute to focus. When co-workers are asking questions of their peer team or supervisors they most likely respect their opinion. The same is true from boss to direct report. Of course the type of question is also important, interrogation techniques do not apply here.
  • Makes time. When you stop to think about it, everything in life revolves around time. If we lived forever nothing would really matter because there would always be more time. Being considerate and taking the time to engage with other people might be one of the biggest signs that you are valued and respected. A boss who has no time for direct reports probably could improve their boss to direct report relationships significantly by making an investment in each other’s time.

Baby Boomer Boss

When we broadly consider the distribution of generations in today’s workforce and we consider those who represent any level of supervisor, baby boomers (who are supervisors) have a significant representation.

So what do you think, does your baby boomer boss respect you?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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millennials more productive

Are Millennials More Productive?

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Recently I wrote about the subject of information overload which sparked online and offline conversations about various workforce generations and productivity. Are the more recent generations such as the millennials and generation Z more productive?

Let’s start by considering a few key points. The first is that what separates the generations is not so much about age, but it is about differing values and beliefs. The second point is that the most recent generations have been taught differently and perhaps learn differently, and the third is that when compared with the earlier generations much of the millennial population and all of the generation Z population have predominantly known information access at their fingertips on a computer or cellular phone.

My belief is that when you consider productivity you have to ask yourself, “Productive at what?” Most people will likely connect productivity with the ability to accomplish one or more tasks in a timely manner. The person who can do this with little or no error in the shortest time is the most productive.

If we agree on that, then the question still remains, productive at what?

Knowledge and Entitlements

If we were to generalize about skills in the workplace one argument could include the idea that those who have been in the workforce longer will have more skill, but those representing the more recent generations may bring additional knowledge of the subject matter.

When it comes to entitlements in the workplace traditionals and baby boomers believe that they are entitled because they have more experience and the millennials and generation Z people believe that they are entitled because they have more knowledge.

Does this have anything to do with being more productive? Likely, yes, it does.

Resource Efficiency

Consider baking a cake, learning to play a musical instrument, or building a bookcase, if we have two human subjects both with about the same amount of resources, knowledge, and experience who will be more productive?

It seems to me that the best answer is the person who will use their resources the most efficiently and effectively to learn the skill, apply the skill, and then be able to repeat the process becoming more productive as they build more skill.

I must confess that from my experiences, with all things being equal, the millennial generation would most likely (I’m generalizing of course) be more productive.

Millennials More Productive

A millennial or Gen Z’er who has developed a reasonable level of problem solving skills will most likely locate the resources for learning (consult an expert, watch a video, find documentation online) faster and more efficiently as compared to the baby boomer.

They will think about it differently because their espoused values and core beliefs are likely different. To help illustrate this point, a baby boomer might seek to find a book or ask a friend and the millennial or  generation Z person is already watching a video.

Are millennials and generation Z more productive in today’s workplace?

I believe it depends on many factors and most of the factors would not be equivalent across the generations. The earlier generations might have some advantage with life experiences that the most recent generations have not had, but it is reasonable that a person from any generation can be highly productive with the proper resources and training.

– DEG

Are you interested to learn more about the generations? 

I wrote this book to help. 

forgotten respect

Buy on Amazon

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

This article was originally posted on October 26, 2016, last updated on November 18, 2019.


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boomer decisions

Boomer Decisions, Millennial Decisions

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Who makes better decisions? Are boomer decisions better, or is it millennial decisions?

Talk to enough people about how decisions are made in their workplace and you’ll likely find someone who has a viewpoint different from the path typically chosen. While it might be common to find disagreement with courses of action handed down from the high rise offices of the c-suite, it also might be common for people to believe that past experience will yield the strongest results.

Boomer Decisions

We often generalize that baby boomers (born 1946-1964) will have much more experience when compared with millennials (born 1977-1994) and as such will make better decisions. This idea of experience based on time may have its fallacies though, and in a recent blog post I wrote about how traditional wisdom regarding workplace generations and experience may sometimes be incorrect.

So what generation is best equipped for decision making? It seems it really all depends.

More experience sometimes leads us to self-deception or data anchoring. While less experience may sometimes mean no previous trials and errors (failures) exist and as such you can’t possibly know or understand the best course of action. Which one is correct, or is it both?

Golden Rules

It seems there are two golden rules about decisions and generations:

  1. Past experiences drive choices, but more experience doesn’t always mean better decisions.
  2. Every generation has values and beliefs relational to their experiences, not to their age.

Popular wisdom suggests that things like false perception and self-deception, data anchoring, palindromes, and other components of critical thinking, including life experiences and patience, will drive decision quality. In addition, how we approach solving problems such as through technology, innovation, or what has worked well in the past will also be a factor.

Are you solving problems by working across any generational boundaries, or are you locked into traditional thinking and methods?

– DEG

Originally posted on March 15, 2016, last updated June 13, 2018

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Leadership, Turnover, and Millennials

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Someone recently suggested to me that training the more recent workforce generations in leadership skills would solve the cross-generational communication challenge. While you would likely never find me disagreeing with workforce training, it has to be the right training, at the right time, and in the right quantity. Of course, it also has to be high quality.

Visionary employee thinking of development

Unfortunately, as quickly as someone suggests leadership training, someone else can make argument against it. It’s common to hear that leadership training may set unrealistic expectations for job promotions or role changes, and should those expectations not be met, it increases employee turnover. That can happen, but it shouldn’t.

Leadership training is not about here is the button, and this is how you push it. Leadership is completely different, because leadership only develops when someone decides it is important to start leading. It isn’t about millennials any more than it is about boomers. In reality, it is more about choice, it should be about a choice for the organization, and it is always about a choice for the individual.

Leadership training shouldn’t be about people leaving, but it might be about why people are staying.  

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Your Gen X Boss

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There is so much chatter about baby boomers and millennials that the other generations almost appear silent. Gen X workplace professionals are rapidly occupying more of the formal supervisor space and this shouldn’t be a surprise. Many exhibit an excellent combination of youth and maturity, curiosity and experience, while also being well educated and technology savvy. Perhaps the perfect combination to lead employee teams.

Attractive female business executive

Success in life as well as in business often develops through great relationships. So if you want to build your relationship and earn respect with your Gen X boss consider these three tips:

  1. Be appropriately assertive. Gen X doesn’t like to waste time and there is no point in wasting any with fluffy conversation unless you want to impress them with a new advertising campaign.
  2. Become comfortable with giving and receiving direct communication. In addition to any frustration Gen X professionals feel about time it should be no surprise they like their communication to be direct. It may be considered disrespectful for you to think they can’t handle tactful and direct approaches to communication.
  3. Respect is earned, not given. They may be somewhat undecided about what long term means to them, and earlier generations often stereotype their commitments as being short. Consider that they may want to prove their ability to stick things out and never quit or back down. The Gen X leader will earn your respect. Those who honor and exemplify this spirit will forge stronger relationships with them.

Generational differences are real, but remember that they are symptoms of other common challenges such as communication and organizational culture. Building a great relationship with your Gen X boss may start with respect, but that is certainly not where it ends. 

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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3 Skills Boomers Need To Stay Competitive

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It is in the news every day. Millennials this and boomers that, millennials are quitting, and boomers need retirement money. Millennials are on their phones, and boomers won’t change. Human resource professionals grow tired of the complaints and the revolving door. While we single handedly won’t solve all of society’s issues overnight, we can take steps to realize the root causes of some of our worst problems and create a path to ease our pain.

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Boomers are looking for jobs (and job security) just as the millennials are, and let us not forget traditionals, generation X, and generation 9/11 people. Boomers still represent a large portion of our active workforce, and while large numbers are retiring others are trying to solidify their presence.

Here are three skills that every boomer should be sure they master:

1. Illustrate. Saying is not doing, and being able to talk about issues and taking action are certainly two different things. Boomers need to illustrate that they are eager to learn, that they have empathy, and that they work towards commonalities not just express differences and expect conformity.

2. Listen. One of the most talked about, but often not heard, is the importance of good listening skills. This includes things such as, think before you speak, be curious of the perspective of others, and be patient while seeking to understand.

3. Change. Change surrounds us and it isn’t centered on any generation. While it may be natural to feel some fear when the unexpected occurs all generations need to learn to expect change. Workplace survival may depend on every person being willing to break a tradition, approach something different with an open mind and less resistance, and of course, be willing to embrace new technologies.

If you’ve read this carefully you will probably quickly recognize that there are far more than just three skills to consider. However, when we package them into three specific areas it may help to make practicing to be more competitive, easier.

Are you competitive?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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3 Reasons Millennials Are Leaders

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Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) are often viewed as occupying a majority of the supervisory space in the workforce. While they enter their workplace every day brandishing a vast amount of experience, they are certainly not the only workplace leaders. Coming behind them we cannot forget or exclude the generation X population (born 1965-1976) who may, as a workplace generation, be experiencing the highest percentage of migration to supervisory roles and who are in their own way representing a new way of leading. However, it is the millennials (born 1977-1994) who may be creating the most noticeable change in leadership style.

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Millennials are popular for discussion both socially and in workforce circles; perhaps mostly because they are making an impact on the climate of every other generation that surrounds them. There are many definitions that characterize leaders and leadership. Both experts and popular wisdom are exerting pressure on traditional definitions while also illustrating those destined for new age leadership. Here are three characteristics that are closely aligned with millennials:

  1. Ground Breakers: Much of this generation has only known a world of constant change, and as such the concept of long-term often has a different meaning as compared to those in generations who preceded them. Normal is perhaps not about stability as much as it is about change.
  2. Technology Savvy: Who would have guessed millennials are highly proficient in technology? [Sarcasm] Solutions to most problems are solved through technology by this group. This is in contrast to other generations sometimes insisting technology is the problem.
  3. Independent Thinkers: High energy and low tolerance for a lack of social or environmental values millennials don’t worry so much about following a norm, in fact the norm my exist in embracing what is new or viewed as different. 

The millennial workforce represents the strongest influence on the values of what next generation organizations will look like. How will they shape the climate of business, its culture, and organizational values? Can you answer the questions of who is leading or what is the best leadership style?

Are millennials followers who are becoming the followed?

– DEG 

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect. Reach him through his website at http://DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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