The Ridiculous Practice of Management by Generation

Working with different types of people and their personalities every day can be tough.  Even tougher is managing them.  It is not easy to figure out how to best appeal to people, to help them realize their greatest potential, and to maximize productivity for your organization.


Generational info graphics depicting differences and preferences seem to be the latest management tool craze. These graphics allow a manager to easily group people by birth-date into categories such as Maturists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.  All the answers for how to manage people, communicate with them, and even what to expect from them is now at a manager’s fingertips!


Giving negative feedback? 
Text the employee!


Consider a manager that needs to give negative performance feedback to someone born after 1981. Following info graphic guidance on communication preferences, managers should just text or send a note on social media to the person!


Looking for loyalty? 
Hire people in their late fifties!


Now what about hiring a loyal employee? Info graphic guidance here suggests only those born before 1961 have loyalty to a company; everyone else is loyal only to their profession or themselves. Managers should only hire people in their mid-fifties or older!


Is this ridiculous guidance? Yes.


People are individuals who have their own distinct personality, values and preferences for how they are treated.  Personal upbringing and experiences shape an individual. I was born in the 1970’s and have communication and career preferences that map across many age brackets.  My teen-age daughter prefers a live telephone conversation; some of her peers prefer text.


Managers should dismiss and forget quick-fix tools for management. Stop putting people into general categories; historically society has made this mistake far too often. Generational infographics are terrible management tools.


The good advice: Get to know employees and their individual preferences. Don’t treat people all the same; they simply are unique.


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