Last week I met with a video editor who had done some work for me. I started out with “This is great. I love the narrative you’ve created . . .” and so forth. Then I started on the list I’d made of the changes I wanted in the video.
His face fell. “Wait a minute,” he said. “You’re using that Generational Voodoo on me.”
Busted. By praising him first and working on relationship before I addressed content, I had acted like a typical Boomer, cushioning my crit with soft words and soft skills. But this didn't work. It only confused him. He’s a Gen Xer, more comfortable with direct, efficient feedback than with make-nice interaction. I think he felt manipulated--not at all what I had intended.
Gen Xers tend to like unfiltered, immediate feedback. They can take it, and they can dish it out. Tweet This On the other hand, we Boomers tend to buffer our criticism with friendliness on either side--the good news first, then the changes we want, then praise again.
Boomers create a feedback sandwich.
Gen X can do without the bread.
It’s not personal. It’s generational. Xers grew up during a period of accelerating change when time because their most valuable commodity. At work, the Gen X rule is “The more efficient an interaction, the better.”
When working with Xers, remember thier aversion to anything that wastes time, including making nice when there's work to be done.
President of Generational Edge, Amy Lynch has written and spoken about the generations for 15 years. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV and Comcast to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Amy has been quoted in national publications, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and NBC Evening News, among others.