Nov 8, 2017 in Narrative

Understanding Generation X

Having discussed the theories relating to impact of leadership styles on Generation X turn over in business, it is appropriate to develop a discussion of what goes on in organizations particularly generating an understanding of Generation Xers to understand how they are ultimately affected by the leadership styles in the broad context of organizations. Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) looked into the issue by arguing that the majority of the Xers could endure the hardships within a workplace especially the less welcoming attitude of the Baby Boomer-dominated work environments but in reality, they are not satisfied with the situations.

Therefore, it becomes extraordinarily difficult when it concerning the maintenance of the Xers because, instead of concentrating on their work, and valuing the same, the reality is that these individuals are always on the move and they prospect to change to other jobs (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007).  The generation, on the other hand, holds a virtue of self-reliance, something that calls for understanding in any given social setting including a workplace (Mann, 2008).  Therefore, it is a generation of its own kind and requires a better approach concerning applying the leadership styles. Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) looked at Generation X and described the same as self-directed, self-made and self-sufficient, meaning that it is a generation that discerns to lead rather than follow. Therefore, it requires that any given work setting applies a leadership style of a kind, one that does not place orders but sets to listen to business professionals who in this case include members of the Generation X cohort (Mann, 2008).  The idea was supported by Broadbridge, Maxwell, and Ogden (2007) who looked into the argument deeper with an assertion that Generation X has an isolation and disconnection trend something that confines the collective leadership potential of the individuals within that Cohort. However, he added in his argument that for Gen Xers to effect change in the leadership styles within a work setting, they cannot work alone, and this means that they will need the support of Baby Boomers (Norman, 2008). 

This has been lacking within organizations and has led to many challenges within the workplace that force the generations to quit and seek for better alternatives (Andrew, 2007).  In building relationships, and sharing own values and goals of Generation X, inspiring and motivating others to follow them is key and this poses as a huge obstacle in organizations and they fail to ascertain the same (Broadbridge, Maxwell,, & Ogden, 2007).  Generation X as discussed by Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) has a broader vision of advancing in their work. This is an innovative generation and what the organization needs to take account. A free and independent state is the only way to see through any innovations for individuals (Stapleton, Starrett, & Kilburn, 2007). 

It is a generation that loathes supervision and especially regular supervision or being asked to account for what the individual does at a particular moment. This generation is unlike the previous ones that seek to act as ordered and never tried something new (Stapleton, Starrett, & Kilburn, 2007).  It is a generation that needs space and time for its satisfaction and contentment with the job. Wong, Gardiner, Lang, and Coulon (2008) noted that Generation X always has the zeal of solving larger problems, influencing the status quo of a particular issue and collaboratively preparing for their future. Thus it is outright that this is a generation that demands respect and involvement something that many organizations are yet to come in terms with (Dries, Pepermans, & De Kerpel, 2008).  Therefore, the leadership style being practiced in respective organizations have to be accommodating especially taking note of the Generation X preferences for the future of the organization to be brighter and better (Lindquist, 2008).

Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden (2007) added that it is true the Generation X (1964-1977) cohort is the next group to succeed the retiring Baby Boomer (1940-1963) labor force but there are major challenges in achieving this dream within a particular organization. He supported that as the majority of Generation X (1965-1979) individuals climb the corporate ladder into leadership roles and Generation Y (1980-2000) individuals grow the labor force; organizations may face issues in employee retention and turnover of Generation Xers. Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) was also of the view that many statistics show that the Generation Xers are less likely to stay loyal to an organization and have changed employers more frequently than any other generational group. Many reasons justify this but most of all is the leadership styles adopted by organizations being incompatible with the generation and other issues of preference.

When looking into how to handle Generation X, and the type of leadership they value, Broadbridge, Maxwell, and Ogden (2007) looked into this concept and from his research had some outstanding findings. Generation X is seen from his generalizations as a generation that values interactions and being heard as opposed to previous generations that do things the way they are ordered. One of the issues that matters to Leadership styles in retaining Generation X business professionals is mentoring (Stapleton, Starrett, & Kilburn, 2007).  This is a generalization from the works of Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) who argue that Gen-Xers require mentoring in all situations before they step into their roles as leaders. An organization that does not respect this fact simply puts off these types of business professionals and experiences high rates of turnover (Wong, Gardiner, Lang, & Coulon, 2008).  Aside from knowledge requires in running a company, the leaders need to understand the elements that influence different generations and what is a preference of one generation to another (Norman, 2008). 

Therefore, the idea is for organizations to acknowledge and practice the most effective approaches of handling diverse generations and leading the same (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007).  A myth exists within numerous workplaces with Gen-Xers being viewed as lazy and generations of people who do not know their way and this have contributed to the downfall of many organizations in mentoring the appropriate leaders. Organizations are obliged to help the new, young leaders’ constituents of Generation X to bring them to a commonality state, therefore, bringing everyone together (Dries, Pepermans, & De Kerpel, 2008).  Thus the mentoring process become ideal and must be in put on the leadership processes. For a comprehensive style of leadership, it is one that helps leaders to understand the kind of environment the former leaders from the Boomers and Veterans generations grew up in and exactly the kind of values needs in taking the leadership role (Andrew, 2007). 

Terjesen, Vinnicombe, Freeman (2007) looked at the generation cohorts and reasons of why there is a high turnover ration of the Generation X in many organizations. He asserted that the reason many organizations have failed is retaining the generation members in their workplace is because they have failed to open dialog (Kelan, 2008).  Within any diverse organizational climate, it is absolute that Gen-Xers desire to obtain fast results, and this is only achievable with a dialogue between the people within a workplace (Montana, & Petit, 2008).  The generation members are focused on getting their job done with a great vision of attaining their goals adequately. Their mission is based on the argument that they do not have to rely heavily on multitasking for them to reach their goals (Andrew, 2007). 

Generation X discerns itself as composed of self- starters preferring a collaborative environment, which would yield better results (Science Daily, 2007).  However, if this were to start telling others within the workplace what to do, they would probably not do it well and probably would in an environment where they can easily build trust between them and the other work mates (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007).  The generation needs to come from a place where they can be empowered by the older workers and they in turn compliment the tasks being carried out. Dialog is the key to handling this generation, which means that any leadership approach being implemented within a workplace needs to be accommodating dialog and appreciating everyone's idea (Dries, Pepermans, & De Kerpel, 2008). 

Communication holds as vital, and this have always remained as the sole proprietor of a successful organization. Generation Xers need an environment that values their values. Gen-Xers tend to be more of family oriented with intense values of the family, and they are motivated in such an environment where these values are upheld (Andrew, 2007).  Generation members prefer to do the job early enough so that they can get home early. In any situation, these are business professionals who will feel pressured if not given the opportunity to engage in family values. Terjesen, Vinnicombe, and Freeman (2007) noted in his research that Generation X members who have been noted as quitting their jobs have one of the main reasons being because the respective jobs are too much demanding, and they do not have time with their families. This is unlike many other older workers categorized in the Baby Boomers   category who have always-worked late and felt comfortable with the same because they are submissive orders (Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden, 2007). 

The moral of the argument is that Gen-X workers decline offers of many jobs that they term as demanding and involving them for better part of the day (Lindquist, 2008).  They rather go for lesser paying jobs but that allow flexibility and enough time for personal matters for instance, those relating to upholding the family values. Wong, Gardiner, Lang, & Coulon (2008) argued alternatively that even with Gen-Xers preferring to work lesser hours (giving an example of eight- or nine-hour), they can still deliver their task. Any leadership styles with a mission of retaining the Generation X cohort members need to be deeply focused on retention (Science Daily, 2007).  This was an argument seconded by Broadbridge, Maxwell, & Ogden (2007) who was of the view that companies face an immense challenge in handling the concept of retention.

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