How do we teach (or train): Baby Boomers


Summary: Teaching and Training Baby Boomers

  • Help Boomers think about an innovative and creative legacy

  • I need more hobbies :-)

I appreciate the Boomers. In some ways, I (a reluctant Millennial) am very “Boomer-esque”. I have workaholic tendencies, I tend to struggle to remove my identity from my profession, and I like, and respect, the top-down structure of organizations. I believe it helps establish consistency and accountability. I’m also professionally competitive and I genuinely do not know what to do with my leisure time—the cynic in me says “What leisure time…?”—and my wife says I need more hobbies. Like other older Millennials my parents are young Boomers and I believe that had a great impact on my work ethic.

The workplace is changing. Boomers, inventors of the 60 hour work week, are on their way out of leadership positions and are retiring more consistently. I recently had a conversation with a Boomer and told her that I believe Boomers have stuck around so long in the workforce because of the 2008 recession and she responded…”That may have something to do with it…but I also like to work, and so do other Boomers.” This reluctance to leave the workplace has had a significant impact on Gen X, as many of them will be passed over for leadership positions because of when Boomers left and when Millennials enter, and also dramatically influences organizational culture as Boomers-X-and Y collide.

Like Silents, many Boomers have a distrust and skeptical perspective for what X and Y can do in the workforce-and, I’m sure in some ways for good reason. But this negative perception can distract workplaces from embracing innovative ideas. Instead, our organizations should be defined by purposeful and intentional innovation. New and different may not always be best, but Boomers must also recognize that new and different may be necessary.

I like to follow innovation, especially where I’m from. Greater Louisville Inc. puts out lists of the most innovative companies in Louisville and I know we can learn a lot from some of our cities most innovative and creative companies. What can we replicate and how can we mimic communication patterns and trends of organizations that are trailblazing?

Boomers can set the stage and encourage innovation. As current leaders, Baby Boomers have the ability to create environments where cross-generational mentorship and inter-generational teams are valued and foundational to success. Training for Boomer leaders should (could) revolve around moving the organization beyond the status quo and leaving a legacy of trust and cooperation with Gen X and Millennials.

What’s your legacy?

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Serving Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding region.

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