Your Gen X Boss

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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. 


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 or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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