Generation Attitude Adjustment

When you feel frustrated with a person of a different generation, try to balance out the negative thoughts with positive ones. Researchers William Strauss and Neil Howe describe generations as part of a repeating cycle of “people moving through time” (1991, p. 23); and the “lesson of the cycle is that each generational type specializes in its own unique brand of positive and negative endowments” (1991, p. 39).

Common Complaints (Cons):               Pros

Millennials are always on their phones > They’re good with tech and multitasking

                                                                    > They’re creative/innovative.

Boomers are behind with tech and        > They’re experienced and have a different set of skills.

don’t want to learn new skills                > They’re good with face-to-face communication.


Discrimination and any other form of workplace mistreatment based on age crosses a legal boundary.

Could your attitude toward people of a different generation cause you to cross a legal boundary?


Challenge: Consider how a generationally diverse work environment can benefit your productivity? (diverse communication styles and skills, perspectives, experiences, etc).

Boomers & Millennials: Capitalizing on the benefits of a generationally diverse work climate

When we think about generational differences in the work environment, we often think of the challenges that derive from adjusting to generation diversity.

However, researchers have found that our focus should be less on adapting and more on understanding. According to Dr. Kimberly Moss, an international consultant and researcher in the area of inter-generational dynamics, if we learn how each generation works (literally), both our communication and teamwork will reap the benefits.

Dr. Moss’s article, Decoding Generational Discourse: Cracking the Code to Improve Communication Across Generations, focuses on the following concepts and discusses how each are understood from the perspectives of various generations: respect, accountability, loyalty, engagement, and coaching. This post breaks down Dr. Moss’ argument on respect.

Members of one generation often complain of disrespect from colleagues of a different generation. Dr. Moss suggests that one problem could be that “respect is defined very differently by each generation.” Here’s a chart that breaks down Dr. Moss’ arguments across generations.

*dates are only estimated as there are currently no clearly defined ranges.


Dr. Moss’ solution for ensuring everyone feels respected:

“Talk to each other.

Acknowledge assumptions and differing definitions.

Tell each other

how you define respect,

how you show respect,

how you understand respect, and

your understanding of various behaviors.”

How does/can your team benefit from age diversity?