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The Generation X Workforce: Time For Individuals To Shine In The Workplace

The Generation X Workforce: Time For Individuals To Shine In The Workplace

Generation X Is Redefining Leadership and Success At Work

Gen X is squeezed in between two extreme generations: the politically active and ambitious Baby Boomers, and the ‘look-at-me’ social media enthusiastic Gen Ys. Both have very different ways of doing business. When compared with other generations, the Generation X workforce has often had trouble being defined as a collective, with little consensus about what makes them distinct.

Having been long cast as a cohort of ‘slackers’ refusing to fully grow up – a generation lacking character and drive, Gen X is coming into its own. Now hitting the prime of their life both professionally and personally, Gen X is leveraging the middle ground between the two generations as a new way of defining leadership and success.

Gen X is finding a foothold as a generational diplomat: straddling both worlds and speaking both languages. New research corroborates this.

Hudson’s study, The Great Generational Shift, reveals that the Generation X workforce has carved a generational persona that speaks the language of both Boomers and Gen Y, and in doing so, is providing leadership based on diplomacy and innovation.

Gen Xers have endured a series of boom and bust market cycles economically. They’ve been on the front line of many of the industries that have been dismantled by the digital revolution – media, music, film – and conversely, they are also the leaders behind that revolution. In their own temperate way, they have created a new norm and opportunities for economic growth.

According to Hudson’s research, based on surveys canvassing 28,000 people across 22 languages, while Boomers score highly in traditional leadership skills, Gen X looks for individuality and is willing to challenge the status quo. They are a generation tuned to a different way of leading, one that ties into the core qualities of individuality and entrepreneurial spirit.

Just as ambitious as their generational counterparts, Gen X brings a fresh perspective to career development. Not necessarily focused on vertical progression straight up the career ladder, Gen X is more about generating options, trying different things and brandishing the tenets of flexibility and freedom.

While many of Gen X’s metrics skew to the middle, rather than being a “vanilla” generation, it shows they are highly adaptable. As the entrepreneurial generation, they are positioned as agents for change and cultural transformers that break the mold. The technologies, platforms and social networks created by Gen X have transformed the way we work and socialize.

As Xers approach middle age, they have been on the forefront of tremendous work pressure, which has become considerably more intense over the last five years. Hudson’s research suggests this has shaped their attitude to leadership and has motivated them to create new ways of doing business.

Business transformations such as flexibility in the workplace, telecommuting and paid parental leave are all things that Gen X has ushered in and restructured for working generations to come.

The Gen X style of leader has an altruistic edge and is more adept at looking at staff culture and employees and ensuring that their work is valued. There is also an inherent inclusivity in terms of supporting causes and projects outside of work.

Interested in learning more about how generations differ in the workplace?

Download The Great Generational Shift

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