How do you like your feedback—direct and unvarnished, or softened with some praise thrown in? We recently surveyed 1,100 employees from all generations and got surprising results.
In our research, we gave people several options about feedback and asked them to choose which they preferred. Two very different options were:
1. I want straight talk. Sugar coating wastes time.
2. Take your time and tell me the good things along with the bad.
Boomers and Millennials overwhelmingly chose option two, but Generation X surprised me. I had predicted Gen Xers would be drawn to option one—a more efficient and direct model of feedback. After all, Gen Xers are known for unvarnished, streamlined communication.
I was wrong. In our survey, 49% of Gen Xers chose option two. What are the lessons here?
We can never make assumptions about individuals within a generational group. Generational traits are useful guidelines, not hard and fast rules.
Generation X may be adapting their management behavior, especially as they ascend into leadership. Gen X leaders are typically tough and pragmatic. But it seems that Xer managers are adapting their style in order to work with Millennials and Boomers.
How about it, Gen X? Are you flexing your soft-skill muscles in order to manage Booms and Millennials?
Amy Lynch, Harness the Power of Generational Intelligence | @AmyLynchGenEdge
Let's Talk: 615-944-6140
Author and entreprenuer Amy Lynch helps the generations understand each other and work together. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Amy has been quoted in The Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and NBC Evening News, among others. Call her about your next event.