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Generation We

By Mel Kauffman

“I find that showing people how to behave is better than telling them how”–– John Paul DeJoria

Lee Silber joined SROA to discuss generations during his “Generation We” webinar. Silber, an award-winning author of 26 books, including two best sellers, spoke about the multigenerational workforce, what makes each generation special and commonalities with each generation. Understanding how the generations work together makes managing people easier, especially when you know how to motivate and reward staff. Silber also shared fun facts and tips for managing Gen Y and Gen Z.

Here are some fun facts on some of the generations in the workforce today:

  • Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers in the workforce.
  • 1/3 of Traditionalists are still in the workforce think of Uber and Lyft drivers.

For a quick overview of the current generations found in the workforce here is a generational snapshot:

Traditionalist: 1928–1944 (The Greatest Generation)

Shaped by the Great Depression and rations

Disciplined by a belt

Traits: Relationships, hard workers, save money, stable, thoughtful, humble, skeptical


Baby Boomers 1945–1964 (The “Me Generation”)

Shaped by property, stability, possibilities, value relationships

Disciplined by soap

Traits: Leaders, teamwork, learn by reading, ambitious, hardworking, confident, joiners


Generation X 1965-1979 (“Latch Key” kids)

Shaped by divorce and two-income families, video games, televisions, commercials, mostly unsupervised

Disciplined by timeout

Traits: Problem solvers, self-starters or freelancers, work from home, self-aware, performance-driven, flexible schedules, learn by trying, adaptable


Generation Y 1980–1994 (Millennials)

Shaped by structured lives, playdates, team sports, diversity, sheltered, litigious, non-confrontational, technology, virtual reality, games, Google, doting parents

Disciplined by helicopter parents

Traits: Collaborators, tech-savvy, diversity, collaborate, expect good things to happen, optimist, learn by googling, work with NOT for the employer, work smart not hard, learn, experience, grow, need immediate feedback, team-oriented, enthusiastic, adaptable


Gen Z: 1995 to present

Shaped by stable home life with money to spend, the pressure to succeed and have the latest and greatest, influenced by social media and celebrities to grow up faster

Disciplined by lawnmower parents

Traits Learn by watching, constant feedback, flexible schedule, structure, direction, communicate with images, opportunity to innovate, security and stability, innovators


Commonalities with each generation

In his webinar, Lee highlighted qualities each generation has in common and, as he noted, these are only the tip of the iceberg:

Respect: Each generation considers this quality important but values it differently. Respect includes respect someone’s time, their accomplishments, and their potential.

Fear: Each generation has fears––fear of failure, of looking stupid, of making a mistake and of rejection.

Laziness: Every generation can be lazy at times and everyone procrastinates.

Recognition: People from all generations want to be heard and appreciated.

Balance: Everyone, regardless of their generation, seeks work-life balance.

Happy: We all want to be happy.


Watch Lee's entertaining and informational webinar to learn more about each generation, what motivates them, tips for managing them and the commonalities. 

We want to hear from you!

When managing staff do you take into account the generational difference to motivate and encourage staff? What can you take from the generational snapshots above?


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