What Happens when Gen X'ers Rule the business world

What happens when Gen X’ers rule the business world, and we choose not to engage millennials?

First, let’s get clear on the generations as I talk frequently about generations.

The Baby Boomers include anyone born before 1955; they are the “baby boom” following World War 2.

Generation X – or the “Gen X’ers” as I’ll refer to them – were most likely born in the 1960’s and 1970’s; it might stretch into 1980 or 1981.  

Millennials will be the generation born in the late 1980’s and 1990’s; they’re currently in their early 20’s to early 30’s. 

As we’ve always seen, there tends to be a shift in personalities when it comes to generations, and, in this video, I’m talking about Gen X’ers and Millenials specifically.

Here’s what we know about Gen X’ers:

·         They’re self-reliant

·         They want leadership roles

·         They don’t trust easily

·         They separate family and friends; and work and personal life

·         They love to get a lot done

·         They love the autonomy to get things done and moving; they love to run with things

Here’s what we know about Millennials:

·         They’re optimistic

·         They thrive on teams; they’re team players

·         They see little distinction between friends and family or work and personal life

·         They want to lead

·         They like structure and support

·         They’re demanding in the sense that they want to understand why we do what we do  


With all that said about both Gen X’ers and Millennials, we’ve got to lean into what fires up each generation. A great example for Gen X’ers – you want those leadership roles, and Millennials want structure and support, so get those two things working together.

So, what happens when Gen X’ers rule the business world? An opportunity to coach a new generation differently.

First, Gen X’ers need to focus on not only how to coach Millennials, but also – a deeper question – how do I engage them?  

Here are two quick steps to start now:

1. Understand who each of them is respectively. This might take up a lot of time in the beginning, but what it gives you if you’re that Gen X leader is a deeper understanding of his or her purpose personally and/or professionally; and when you do that, you build trust

2. Give yourself time to coach. Coaching others – especially those who are younger than you – takes time, energy, and attention. The more time you give yourself to coach or learn how to coach, the more engaged a team you’ll have; the stronger team you’ll have; the more success your team or bottom line will be. Then, you’ll create a culture where YOU can focus ON the business and your team can focus IN the business

Both of these steps build the most important thing in your business – trust. Trust is a hard thing for Gen X leaders, but you must commit to building a foundation where your Millennial team members trust you and feel comfortable talking to you, and then feel comfortable being held accountable to you and for you.  

Now, what happens if you choose to do nothing? You don’t want to coach; you want to keep doing what you’re doing and running with your projects? 

You risk a team of unruly Millennials who don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing for or with you; you risk spending most of your time putting out fires; you risk high turnover and high costs looking for new people consistently. Millennials are the biggest work force currently; you can’t deny them

Gen X – it’s time to change your mindset and commit to a better culture to sustain the future.