By Emily Barlean

Webster University, Final Project

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In today’s workplace all four generations exist together—from Millennials to Traditionalists. This provides the unique opportunity for Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and Traditionalists to interact. In fact, these generations are doing much more than just interacting—they are leading each other. Most often Baby Boomers and Traditionalists are leading teams of Gen Xers and Millennials, but there are also instances of Gen Xers and Millennials leading the older generations. It can be challenging to have generations collide, especially when they do not understand each other’s communication and leadership styles. For that reason, there is a greater need for different age groups to understand one another in order to promote civility. This paper seeks to prove that the generation one is born into affects their leadership style; this would provide members of all generations with more realistic expectations and a greater understanding of why their managers and colleagues act the way they do.

By thoroughly investigating the areas of generations, communications, and leadership and then synthesizing them as a body of work, research proved that both personality and communication style are highly impacting of leadership style, and because different generations have very different backgrounds and communication styles, generation does have an impact on leadership. It was discovered the Traditionalists lead with more of a top-down approach, Baby Boomers lead with motivation and through building relationships, Generation Xers lead by demonstration, and Millennials prefer to lead as a team, working together to accomplish a task.

The implications of this study will prove extremely valuable to anyone who enters the working world planning to lead someone or be led by someone who was born outside of their own generation.

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