There is a belief that the way a leader communicates is dependent upon his or her age/generation. Leaders like people are really a sum of their parts. Many factors such as culture, gender, personal experience as well as generational characteristics can impact how a leader communicates. Generational characteristics can often provide leaders with biased tendencies in their communication styles, however, good leaders can learn to develop and adapt their methods of communication to best address the audience and for changing situations.
Today’s world is the first where there are four generations in the modern workforce present of both genders.
“Researchers disagree as to the exact ages and population sizes of each generation, but an estimation of each generation’s year of birth and population are the following: the Traditionalists (Matures or the Silent Generation) were born between 1927–1947 with a population of 44.2 million (making up 8.5 percent of the workforce), the Baby Boomers were born between 1947–1965 with a population of 76.8 million (39.9 percent of the workforce), Generation X was born between 1965–1981 with a population of 52.4 million (35.7 percent of the workforce), and Generation Y (Millenials) was born between 1981–2000 with a population of 77.6 million (15.8 percent of the workforce) (Zust. 2008).”
There is abundant research regarding generational differences in the workplace, leadership styles and communication. Each generation due to their needs, desires and collective identity has differing tendencies towards the types of communication and leadership styles they prefer to be communicated with. Based on that one can extrapolate, that their biases towards how they communicate would be similar. “Traditionalists value keeping one’s word, mutual respect, loyalty, and trust. Face-to-face communication, formal language, and straight-to-the-point types of speech are the best communication styles for this group (Zust, 2008).” Cam Marston of Generational Insights says, “For Baby Boomers communications is best done face-to-face, followed by telephone and even email (with full sentences and an opening and closing) (Polischuk, 2013).” In other research by author Christine Zust (2008), “ Baby Boomers prefer face-to-face or electronic communication, and an open and direct style of communication.”
Generation X is a generation full of transition and changes compared with prior generations. They grew up in an age with electronics and more immediate gratification technology like ATM’s. Many were on their own a lot growing up due to instability in the home such as divorce and most have a more cynical outlook in regards to their prospects and towards their company. “Typically they are independent (yet depend a lot on their parents), selfish or cynical, question authority, resilient, adaptable, culturally progressive, technologically savvy, expect immediate results, and are committed to their team and their specific boss....