Gen X and Leadership

Tammy Erickson has an article on the Harvard Business Publishing Blog titled, “Why Generation X Has the Leaders We Need Now“.

As a Gen X’er myself, I’m always interested in how the group is defined and I have to admit that the traits Erickson notes are very recognizable.

She explains how environmental change will impact how we lead:

Future leaders in all spheres will have to contend with a world with finite limits, no easy answers, and the sobering realization that we are facing significant, seemingly intractable problems on multiple fronts. Perhaps the biggest change from the past: leaders will have to listen and respond to diverse points of view. There will be no dominant voice.

This clearly speaks to a networked world wherein transparency, honesty, and integrity are critical to individuals and companies.  One’s reputation will become the determining factor in who consumers or other individuals chose to listen to amongst all the noise.

What else did she say about Gen X to lead her to believe we are poised to lead, let me paraphrase:

  • Resourceful and Hardworking
  • Self-reliance via distrust of institutions and a well developed network
  • Avid adopters of collaborative technology and comfortable in both digital and global world environments
  • Unconscious acceptance of diversity
  • Inclined to innovate
  • Ability to isolate practical truths
  • Fiercely dedicated to being good parents
  • Practical and value-oriented sensibilities

Having read the piece, I’m now much interested in reading her forth-coming book, “What’s Next, Gen X?: Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want.”


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