Do generational differences really affect teams? Think about a work team in businesses today. The leader in a nursing home could be a generation X (born 1965-1980) supervising a baby boomer (born 1946-1964) who has been a nurse of 35 years in the nursing home industry taking care of a traditionalists (born 1900-1945) and the new medical doctor intern a millennial (born 1981-1999) giving advice to everyone. Think about the dynamics of the team and the situations that might arise.
For the first time in history four generations are working together and they are different in many ways but yet still have similarities. Let’s take a closer look at the four generations.
• Traditionalist: lived through World War II and the Great Depression, embrace patriotism, adhere to a military management style, and save their money.
• Baby boomers: Have prospered and is considered the “me generation.” This generation question authority and was disillusioned by many of societies events that included the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle.
• Generation X: Questions authority and American institutions. Experience the loss of the traditional family they have become very resourceful and skeptical.
• Millennial: Access to 24/7 technology, very multicultural and diverse, very “techno-savvy’, collaborative. This group has been labeled “echo boomers” (children of the baby boomers). (McCready, 2011).
From the description of the four different generations, you can see there can be generational differences that occur within a team environment. Two typical differences involve technology and organizational structure shifts. Technology has created a huge impact on everyone’s lives but do not assume that one generation is more knowledgeable than another. The other is the fact the work environment has changes from a hierarchy system to more of level system involving teams, creative thinking and the decision making processes can now be at all levels of an organization. It will be the leader’s responsibility to recognize the conflicts and be prepared to handle the situations.

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