I am completely convinced that the “generation gap” can be closed when you take the time to learn what triggers each generation. Generations each have underlying motivators that cause the majority of people that are grouped in a generation to feel and react the same way.
Of particular interest, for the first time in history, there are currently 5 generations in the workforce and therefore, in order for all generations to work cohesively together, managers must learn how to close the generation gap: they must learn what drives each generation, how to communicate with each generation, and how to motivate each generation, and then bring it all together in their company.
There is no mathematical calculation regarding when a generation starts and ends although I found an explanation in Wikipedia stating that a generation constitutes a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor.
At first that began to make a little sense to me until I noticed that most generations are 16 or 18 years from start to finish when the next generation was named, except for the “GI Generation”, which is 26 years from start to when the Traditionalist generation started.
So, I’m back to being baffled about when one duration starts and ends. With that disclaimer about the different dates of a generation and sometimes the names of a generation, for my purposes, I refer to my Mother’s generation as the Traditionalists, I’m a Baby Boomer, I refer to son’s generation as Generation X, and my granddaughter’s generation as the Millennials.
Take a trip through the ages by checking out the information I found about 4 current generations.
Traditionalists (1925 – 1945)
Lived through a 10-year Great Depression and World War II. Both of these influencers forced people to focus on surviving day-to-day. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone as frugal as this group! Despite having no money, they learned to create their own entertainment. Additionally, Traditionalists set the stage for the USA to be the world’s super power despite the great depression and WWII
Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)
Lived through the Korean& Vietnam wars. Money became more easily available than it was for their parents and this group wanted to experience life, which caused the introduction of civil rights and women’s movements, street drugs, sit-ins, and the beginning of advanced technology. They combined some of their parents’ entertainment with their own.
Generation X (1965 – 1980)
Experienced the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, Middle East Hostage Crises, gangs, violence, latch-key, AIDS, and the beginning of the Electronic Technology. They quickly became adept at using technology and they learned the best of both worlds. Their entertainment was totally different from their parents and grandparents because money flowed more easily.
Millennials (1981 – 2006)
Experienced many natural disasters, terrorism and mass shootings, and bullying (both in person and electronic), which caused them to use technology to extremes to get away from all the violence and terror they hear and see daily. It’s rare to see a Millennial get through a day without using technology, which is their primary form of entertainment.
TAKE ACTION: Learn tips and tricks to help generations not only get along well together but also to have fun as they do it.