Mar 132022

The Place Light Gets In is a collection of memoirs now available on Amazon. While it may not be a study in generational differences, it has stories written by a group of individuals from different generations reflecting on our pasts and many of the stories that went into developing our collective values.

A group of dedicated writers discovered a sacred space at Holy Innocents’ for sharing their memories and personal histories, a place filled with light during these uncertain times.

When we set out on the path to share our memoirs from this eight years and eight members strong writer’s group, no one knew we would end up with exactly 40 selected stories between us. A Lenten launch seems appropriate! As the Reverend Martha Sterne says about the craft of memoir writing in her introduction, “Believe me. You are the keeper of treasures.”

The memoirs are as varied as the members of the group. We have stories for everyone: about love and war, art and the environment, experiences and faith, life journeys, struggles, and triumphs that span nearly a century.

All proceeds from the sales of the books will be donated to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church where we meet weekly to share our life experiences and have received spiritual support to continue our writing journeys.

Instructors Carolyn Fore and Sally Parsonson and members, Beverly Baker, Tony Clarke, Stefan Fatzinger, Christy Knight, Jeannie Longley, and Janet Wilson welcome you into our world of words.

The book is available on Amazon for $18.00.

More information about the book can also be found at

If you are looking for more information about generational leadership differences, be sure to check out my book Millennials Taking the Lead on Amazon.

I would also like to recommend a great blog by Tim Elmore incorporating Generation Z into the mix: How Four Generations Differ in their Approaches to Work.


Aug 112021

Millennials are considered continuous learners. Keeping in mind that looking at generational trends is not intended to be stereotyping, Millennials are likely to agree with this statement. Some reasons Millennials see themselves as continuous learners are that they recognize they don’t know it all, they are always looking for ways to learn new things, and they view learning as an opportunity or reward, not as a task or punishment. Millennials are often looking for ways to improve at whatever they are doing.

That doesn’t, however, mean that people in other generational groups don’t like to learn new things. As a Baby Boomer, I can’t help remembering that my generation started the self-improvement fad. Baby Boomers were responsible for both writing and purchasing all those self-help books of the Seventies. Those how-to books and many more of those old improve yourself books are still around. Self-help has moved into the areas of leadership development and more business-focused topics but is still in demand. Training was something Baby Boomers usually did on their own time unless the job required additional training that was provided by the company.

Generation X is known to respect knowledge and learning, perhaps in a more formal way. This generation is usually looking for the expert on a topic. Training is viewed as more of a necessity than a reward by this group, something that must be completed as a way to gain the knowledge required to get ahead at work.

The newest group to join the workforce, Generation Z, is known as the digital generation and they are most likely learning something all the time in their digital world. Like all generations, Gen Z enters the work force not knowing what it doesn’t know. But like their predecessors, the Millennials, they prefer experiential learning and realize learning is an evolutionary process. Members of this generation are more likely to want informal training in the workplace and expect to have real-time access to the information they need to know, since they have grown up in a world where they have instantaneous access to information.

When we look across all the generations in the workforce, they all have a desire to learn new things but may have very different approaches to how and when they want to learn or expect to have access to the information they need to know.

Read more in Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace

Jul 072021

Leadership discussions often point out that being a leader isn’t about your job title or who appointed you to a position of leadership. It is more about how you act as a leader and how others view you as a leader. Depending on your age, your generational group, this can mean different things.

Most Millennials believe that leadership is about guidance and that a great leader coaches and directs their team. This will likely include helping them find learning and mentoring opportunities along the way, or at least finding ways for them to grow and develop their own skills.

For a member of Generation X, leadership is more about competence. This age group is going to respect and follow the person they feel is knowledgeable and capable of leading them toward success.

For a Baby Boomer leadership is based on consensus which means that a great leader is the one who can rally the team toward a common goal and get everyone working together. A great leader is capable of getting everyone to agree on the best way to achieve the objectives.

To a Traditionalist, leadership is based on hierarchy, meaning the person in charge is the leader and should call the shots. Those below should follow.

These differing views of leadership can result in confusion and conflict. If a Baby Boomer, who is all about consensus, is leading a team made up of Gen Xers who are looking for competence and Millennials who are looking for guidance, this leader may find they are often playing the wrong role. By not showing the expected leadership competency at the right time, the team members may decide this person isn’t a great leader. It can be a balancing act to understand what your team needs in a leader and provide that in your leadership.

If you have a leader who isn’t your same generational cohort and you question their leadership style, you may want to try to understand why that leader looks at leadership differently and why that doesn’t mean they can’t still be an effective leader.

Jun 152021

There are so many areas in the workplace where individuals from different generations just plain have different views and expectations. Two that don’t get talked about a lot are rewards and career goals.

First, what is a reward? Most people like to have some type of recognition for a job well done. But depending on the person’s age, what is meaningful could look quite different. For a Traditionalist, rewards are usually thought of as job security, recognition, or retirement benefits. For a Baby Boomer, money, trophies, or acknowledgement of earned respect are good rewards. Generation X is likely to want a reward they can put into use to improve their work environment such as work from home privileges or more job flexibility. Millennials see opportunities to learn and grow as rewards, so they are likely to look for training classes, mentoring, or more individualized attention as rewards. Workers in Generation Z are loyal and will work hard when they are rewarded in a way that caters toward a balanced lifestyle, including enhanced healthcare benefits or additional holidays.

Our ways of defining career goals have changed over the years. A Traditionalist considered career goals to be advancement with one company for their entire work life, getting the gold watch for years worked, and having a great retirement plan. For a Baby Boomer, the goal was a challenging career path which may have initially been with one company but later could involve multiple companies, and having accomplishments recognized such as their name on the plaque in the cafeteria. Generation X have an expectation of multiple employers as they attempt to climb the lattice rather than the corporate ladder looking for experience and building a portable career. Millennials want varied, multi-faceted careers as they are learning and moving about, searching for steady, yet fast, progression. Generation Z career expectations are to have positions where they have an opportunity to learn multiple skills and aspects of other jobs in addition to their own. They are looking for customized careers.

These differences make it challenging for organizations to build reward systems and career paths for all generations but that’s exactly what has to be done to satisfy our generationally diverse workforce.

Read more in Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace

May 302021

In the United States, the generations born beginning with the 20th century have labels, and research suggests that generational cohorts differ from each other. Different generational groups recall different events and changes, primarily from adolescence through early adulthood. Labels and the exact years represented by those labels may differ because generational analysis is not an exact science.

The interactions of generational groups in society became a predominant theme in the literature in the past 3 decades as researchers described the characteristics of each generational group and the background events that influenced them as they were growing up. Interest in understanding generational differences first increased with Coupland’s novel Generation X, which described Generation Xers as jaded young adults exiting the rat race established by the previous Baby Boomer generation.

Generational differences became a popular topic in organizations as the age span of workers increased in the 2000s and leaders began to notice how different the behaviors and expectations of their older workers, those approaching retirement age, were from their young, just-out-of-college new hires, belonging the to the much talked about Millennial cohort.

Besides having different ideas about work in general, these groups have different ideas about leadership, communications, work/life balance, trust, transparency, and so many other fundamentals of daily work life. I like to look at leadership because that’s my focus but underlying all of our daily work interactions is an important factor – how we communicate.

The disconnect in communication styles often leads to generational misunderstandings, discord, and even conflict. The Traditionalists or Silent Generation is accustomed to face-to-face communications and understands distributing information through the office memo. Their style in these communications tends to be directive. Baby Boomers were in the workforce when email was introduced and became big fans. This is a generation that prefers to get consensus on ideas so in-person discussions are still popular and may happen as a follow-up to an email or prior to the email communication which is then used to confirm the conversation. Generation X has always known email in the workplace and often uses it instead of meetings. This generation prefers collective decisions which may be done through those emails or social media. Millennials are the experts on the use of social media for communicating in their collaborative world, and brought this to the workplace with them. Making group decisions by text messaging is not unusual with this generation. Generation Z is the instantaneous generation and the faster the better for their communication method. That could mean any electronic method available to them at the time.

Looking across this array of preferred methods of communicating can explain why different generations feel that individuals belonging to a different generation are not hearing them, are not speaking their language, or don’t care about them. It’s frequently their inability to communicate using the same methods and terms, almost as if they are speaking different languages. This is one of the many reasons generational differences should be a diversity consideration.

Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace

May 132021

One of the things I’ve been doing during the year of the pandemic is reading – a lot more than ever before in my life. Considering my interest in generational differences, the BookBaby article that appeared in my email about the reading trends by different generations grabbed my attention.

I guess it’s not surprising that the Silent Generation, also called Traditionalists (ages 76 and older), spends the most time reading each day. Traditionalists prefer mystery or suspense fiction and biography or memoir non-fiction.

As a Baby Boomer, I also wasn’t surprised to learn that other Baby Boomers (ages 56 to 75) rely on best seller lists to find their books. I’ve been perusing best seller lists and book club selections all year when determining what to read. Baby Boomers are most likely to read a thriller or for non-fiction they will read about cooking.

Generation X (ages 41 to 55) reads more online news than other generations. Again, that doesn’t surprise me. They are the first generation to embrace the Internet. They read across all genres and don’t show a preference for a particular fiction category. In non-fiction they prefer crafts and hobbies.

The fact that Millennials (ages 25 to 40) read more books than other generations did surprise me when I first read it, although we know this generation values learning and perhaps that’s the reason they are reading so much. Millennials are also most likely to visit a library. Their reading preferences are general adult fiction or the health/fitness/wellness category in non-fiction.

Generation Z (those under 25) prefers fantasy to other genres. While we are still learning the trends for this younger generation, the fact that they have been growing up in a totally digital world and have spent their days in video game fantasyland could be part of the reason for this interest. For non-fiction they prefer humor. I personally find that quite interesting. Is it because they don’t take life too seriously or because they don’t want to face reality? Or maybe there is no real serious implication in this.

All generations prefer physical books which may seem surprising when you see how many people are reading on tablets and listening to audio books. Gen X is more likely to be reading on a tablet than any other generation and Traditionalists are least likely to be reading an ebook. The older generation also doesn’t care for audio books as only 9% have listened to one in the past year.

While there are some things we all have in common such as all generations like to read, some things are very different, like what we read and how we read it. It is always good to try to understand those in different generations and what is important to them.

For the details behind these numbers and many other interesting facts about generations and reading habits, click on this link:


Apr 292021

Millennials look for leadership that connects and collaborates.

The leadership style of Millennials fits with the emerging need of organizations to have leadership that connects, collaborates, and is driven by passion and purpose to provide the organization with a common cause.

Some of the leadership characteristics of Millennials that are having an influence on organizations are their desire to connect, collaborate, and find their passion in their work. As a group, Millennials are more connected than previous generations in the workplace. Part of this is a result of the technology advances that make it easier for them to connect more frequently, faster, and with more people than their predecessors. Another part of it is their high comfort level with working with others which leads to more collaborative decision-making and leadership.

Connecting and collaborating are important concepts in organizations today as much of the work is expected to be accomplished by teams. For teams to be in sync and develop goal-focused results, they must find ways to connect that are comfortable for the team members. With multi-generational teams, this may be challenging. The older members of the team often want to have meetings and discussions in person, while younger members are more likely to turn to technology for communicating. This could be email, texting, social media, or as we’ve all become accustomed to during the pandemic, meetings over Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams.

Collaborating is something Millennials do very well since they excel at getting together and discussing what they need to accomplish, then developing a plan together. Generation X has their own way of collaborating, based more on exchanging information as they develop a plan while looking to the team experts to take the lead. Baby Boomers are consensus builders and more likely to look for consensus than collaboration. Once someone has a good idea, the team refines it to develop a plan everyone on the team supports.

A desire to find their passion and have work that has purpose are also continuing themes from Millennials that are strong enough to influence organizations and their future paths. Millennials are going to work for the companies where they feel they have a purpose and the goals of the company align with their passions, or at least where the work they are given is something they feel good about doing. More than older generations, if they don’t feel their work is meeting their personal goals, they will go somewhere else, even if it means starting their own business. As these younger leaders move into leadership roles in organizations, their influence will be felt in the overall organizational objectives.

To learn more about how Millennial leaders collaborate, read Millennials Taking the Lead: The Leadership Style That’s Changing the Workplace