Generation X – Bridging the Gap in Leadership

There is no clear decision when “Generation X” begins or ends, it is typically said that is starts in the early 1960s and ends in the early 1980s. Generation X follows the baby boomer generation and are often referred to as “Gen Xers”. “Gen Xers have been called everything from slackers to disloyal, from dumb to just plain bad” (O’Bannon, 2001). It seems that this could not be any farther from the truth.

Gen Xers come from a time when the divorce rate in America was skyrocketing. “Between 1965 and 1977, the divorce rate in America doubled. Over 40% of Xers come from broken families, and 12% of elementary school children grew up as “latchkey kids,” responsible for their own welfare after school until their parents returned from work” (Zill & Robinson, 1995). Although no one realized it at the time, this taught the Gen Xers how to be self-sufficient. It also taught them how to handle difficult situations.

Gen Xers are looked at as being responsible for bridging the gap between the baby boomers and millennials. Carolyn Wiethoff states, “Gen Xers grew up in the information age, and they are quite comfortable with technology. Politically, they grew up as America’s global power was declining. In the business world, Generation X saw a record number of corporate bankruptcies, Wall Street scandals, and massive corporate downsizing.” They have shown they are capable of being tech savvy, such as millennials, and exhibit leadership skills shown by the baby boomers.

Gen Xers were forced to be responsible and handle adversity at a young age. This valuable skill translated to the workplace and created great leaders. In a study published by DDI, it looked at more than 25,000 leaders spanning 54 countries and 26 major industries. They found Generation X accounts for 51 percent of leadership roles globally (Neal & Wellins, 2018). Their ability to be responsible and handle adversity has showcased their leadership skills.

Gen Xers are viewed as loyal employees, but also value time spent with their families. This can be directly related to how Gen Xers were raised. They take pride in spending time with their families because it was something that was taken from them at a young age. They understand the value of family and what it can mean to their spouses and children.

Their life experiences have impacted the way they communicate, act, and react to the world around them. Their experiences have given them the tools to communicate to both younger and older generations. They have risen to leadership levels without sacrificing the value the of family. This can be directly related to their upbringing. They were shown family and financial instability. In turn, they have made it a priority not to repeat history.

Sources:

Neal, S., & Wellins, R. “Generation X-not millennials-is changing the nature of work.” 11 April 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/generation-x–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

O’Bannon, G. (2001). Managing our future: The Generation X factor. Public personnel Management, 30, 95-106.

Wiethoff, Carolyn. (2004). Management Basics: Managing Generation X . Indiana libraries, 23(2), 53-55. https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/1343/Management%20Basics.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Zill, N., & Robinson, J. (1995). The Generation X difference. American Demographics, 17, 29-32.

By: Tyler Houchin, General Studies Major – IUPUC

Words change human behaviors

We all know of someone that speaks before they think. While not knowing how it affects those around us. Words can change human behavior in both positive and negative ways. One single word can make the difference between liking a person and disliking a person.  It can affect relationships, businesses and impact your career. Using the right or wrong words will show you how a person is going to react.

For instance, when communicating with your significant other use words of encouragement such as love, proud and beautiful.  This will allow the person receiving the message to feel happy, appreciated and able to open up and communicate better with you. On the other hand just using the wrong words such as always or never, you’re pathetic, you have to do this will change the behavior of the person. They will shut down, become standoffish and not feel comfortable to communicate you with.

Same thing in businesses they know the right words to say to keeping customers coming back instead of losing them. Greeting their customers asking how their day is going will make them feel welcomed and willing to shop at their store. Ignoring the customers using words like hurry, I don’t have time for this will make the customer want to leave and tell their friends about how badly they were treated.

Just one negative word can ruin a person’s day. Nevertheless, one positive word can make a person’s day. Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” So in other words choose your words wisely because they have the potential of accomplishing nearly anything or destroying nearly anything.

By Tameeka Sizemore, Psychology major- IUPUC

 

Frame of Reference

How does your frame of reference affect how well you are able to complete the task at hand? This is a question I find myself asking when preparing this blog. There are many times I have overlooked the importance of this. Over the last year I have learned from personal experience on how my frame of reference can affect how I approach problems in the workplace.

The first step to understanding the role of your frame of reference is to know what the frame consists of. This can vary by your location and the activity you are currently participating in. My frame of reference at work focuses on mainly cost and revenue generated. I am also from Generation Z. This has a larger effect on the technological side. I see the advantage of how technology can improve efficiency even if It cost more than standard equipment.

I reflect over the past experiences I had at work while thinking about my frame of reference. Many of these issues could have been resolved earlier if I would have stepped back from the situation to define how I am viewing the issue versus how the other person views the issue. Most business are trying to make as much profit as they can while keeping their customers happy. Working in the quoting department is just that. We try to maximize our profit. While I look at this my customer is trying to minimize their cost. It is best to approach this as if we were a partnership. We both need to agree to the price that satisfies both of us. While this process sounds simple it took us around 2 weeks to accomplish. If we would have started out at the point where we both were transparent with our needs this process could have taken only a few days.

In my short time in business I have found it best to take a few minutes before each meeting and analyze where my customer/coworker is coming from these meetings would have been more productive. We also would have been more efficient which frees us up in order to do other tasks. Going forward I plan on scheduling a few minutes into my calendar in order to my position to that of my opposition.