The battle lines in your office: Gen Y, Gen X, baby boomers, and oh, Gen Z

Find it difficult to handle your Gen Y bosses. Here's the reason why: they are highly ambitious, socially confident, and severely lacking in persuasive skills.

Instead, find some moderation among the Gen X bosses – they tend to be socially progressive, change-oriented, confident and culturally sensitive, according to a report ‘Great Generational Shift just released by talent management and recruitment company Hudson.

As it turns out, Gen X bosses are the perfect counter balance for the more dominant characteristics of the Gen Y and baby boomer generations, the report adds.

What about the baby boomers? Well, they offer a combination of strong traits for being innovative, persuasive, strategic, open minded, motivational and decisive, the survey says.

Then there is the Gen Z to reckon with, they are just entering the workforce, bringing with them their special traits.

The research and report is based on psychometric assessments of over 28,000 professionals, made in 22 different languages. It covered baby boomers born between 1946-64, generation X born between 1965-79 and generation Y, born between 1980-1994

Gen Y no longer babies

Executive general manager of Hudson’s Talent Management (Asia Pacific), Simon Moylan says each generation is moving up a step and the traditional leadership implications will need to be reckoned with. 

“Generation Y is no longer the baby, generation X is no longer the middle child and boomers are no longer the parents,” says Moylan.    

The Great Generational Shift research also shows that Gen Y score much lower on traditional leadership traits while baby boomers have plenty of traditional leadership traits. The Gen X people are great persuaders and motivators of change.

These different profiles will shape the new workforce, based on this multi-generational changes taking place, the report says.

Hudson's research suggests that with generation Z now starting to enter the workforce and baby boomers beginning to retire, the old placeholders no longer fit. 

By understanding the distinct traits -  emotional stability, extroversion, openness, altruism, conscientiousness and professional factors - driving each generation, managers will have a strong idea about the shifting nature of leadership. This will allow managers to comprehend, predict and manage the behaviour of people from the three groups. 

Message for Gen X, Gen Y, baby boomers

More importantly, the research provides organisations and workers insight about who their future leaders and stakeholders may be.The key message for baby boomers: Embrace change, avoid judgments and adjust your expectations.

For Gen X: They are ideal to progress into natural diplomats as they progress through their careers.

For Gen Y:  They need to look out for organisations that will motivate them to achieve great things.

Moylan says: “More than ever before, it is imperative that organisations understand the profound psychological differences in how the various generations think, act and lead.   

“Organisations need to understand what it is that motivates their employees and connect the dots between the motivational drivers of those in different ages and stages. Out-of-the-box thinking, innovation and a focus on strategic risks require a new kind of leader.

The question to ask then, according to Moylan is: Are your today’s leaders the right leaders for tomorrow?

The complete research can be found here