Leadership And Communication Styles From Different Generations

1063 words - 5 pages

The modern workplace presents many challenges to effective communication and as companies work towards greater diversity difficulties and misunderstandings are bound to arise. Most of the time when we think of diversity we envision ethnicity, cultural and gender based differences. However, now that there are four generations in the workplace generational differences in leadership communication styles and preferences are becoming more obvious and consequently more of an issue (Birkman, 2009). While the generation to which we belong does not define us or our communication style it can influence the way we communicate, what communication technologies and medias we are comfortable using and how ...view middle of the document...

Consequently, because I work with a diverse group of people who represent all four of the generations I have had to adjust my style to be more effective and to accommodate their needs. Some need more direction, others need more “how-to” explanations, while the rest want to be left alone to do their job and everyone needs varying levels of feedback. By adapting my communication and leadership styles to better suit the different generations that I must deal with I believe that our team is more productive and efficient than if I forced them to adjust to me.
What generation you belong to can also have a big impact on the types of communication technology and social media you are comfortable with using. While this is not an absolute, each generation has grown up with different technologies in place and find some easier to adopt than others (Birkman, 2009). Boomers generally prefer to communicate face to face or by phone. For us, it is important to get the confirmation of non-verbal signals of body language, tone of voice and inflection (Birkman, 2009). While, we may rely heavily on e-mail especially in our business communications the younger generations use instant messaging, texting, and e-mail almost exclusively for business and private communications. Many from the older generations perceive this type of exchange as impersonal and disconnected; the younger generations feel they are part of a community and it satisfies their need to socialize(Birkman, 2009). Technology and social media has made communicating information easier and at the same time made communication more challenging. As leaders, understanding what people are comfortable with can help in ensuring that everyone receives the same message.
Being aware of how we communicate with others is important however, it is also important for us to remember that each individual has a preference for how they wish others to communicate with them. Each generation may have a different understanding of what is an appropriate way to respond to a question; a Gen X or Millennial may believe that responding by instant or text message is fine but the Baby Boomer may desire a face to face...

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