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Why Managing Baby Boomers, Generation X And Generation Y Is Impossible

Aug 17, 2007
You've probably heard about how, as a manager, you need to consider the varying needs and wants of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and other "Generations."

Well, I'm here to tell you to forget even trying!

Because it's impossible to manage any of these Generations.


Because none of these Generations exist!

That's right -- Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and whatever other Generations there are, are just a figment of the collective imagination of various social scientists, market researchers and self-proclaimed "gurus."

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Perhaps these social scientists, market researchers and gurus have a legitimate reason for categorizing entire populations of people based on when they were born.

Perhaps being born and growing up during a given time period has some particular meaning or importance.

And yes, it sure does make the job of the marketing manager easier if she can simply classify a given target market as Baby Boomers, Generation Y, or whatever.

But how does it help you, as a manager?

Does it really help to know -- or should I say assume -- that because Bob was born in 1950 he values job security above all else or that because Karen was born in 1975 she's willing to put in long hours to fast-track her success? Or because Beth was born in 1955 she's just like Bob?

What if you're wrong?

And that's what I'm getting at folks. You see, if you buy into the idea of Generations then you can't help but generalize and assume -- and both generalizing and assuming are the absolute last things you want to do as a manager.

Because chances are, you'll get it wrong.

So... instead of treating people as part of some Generation, or indeed classifying them as part of any group, why not treat them as individuals?

When you understand your staff as individuals, you'll discover what truly makes them tick -- what talents they have, what they excel in, what work they like doing, who they like working with, what motivates them, how they prefer to be managed and other significant qualities.

Armed with this knowledge you can tailor your management style and approach to each person and, by doing so, get the very best out of them!

So forget about the Generations. Treat your people as individuals. Find out what drives them.

By doing so, you'll not only know how to motivate them, but you'll make them feel valued -- as individuals -- and thereby create a happier more productive work environment.
About the Author
Anna Johnson is the author of the How To Manage People System, including her book, How To Manage People (Even If You're A Control Freak!). Get Anna's FREE 12-page report How To Be An Outstanding Manager - The 8 Vital Keys To Managing People Effectively
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