How do we lead…?: Gen X

Gen X Summary

How do we lead…?: Gen X


  • Xers want a Laissez Faire leader-but make sure you don’t forget about “X”

  • “The Doer”(s) want competent and effective leaders

Gen X. The oft-forgotten group. One generational nickname of Gen X that is really like is “The Doer”. Xers tend to just get things done. They are efficient, hard-working, but they like balance and they also want to be left alone. I believe one of the reasons “X” is forgotten is because they are so independent and capable of completing tasks on their own. Xers will often take on additional responsibility and have a results-driven mentality. To be honest, a “leadership” post, if we are thinking about the type of “style” Xers will typically respond to, is easy. Xers want a laissez faire leader. What does this mean? Delegate, and let people do their jobs.

I get it. I’m wired like an Xer in this regard. My ideal boss gives clear directives and then lets me do my job. But, this type of leadership, while preferable for Xers, may cause more harm than good if “the Doer” is an organizational afterthought. Those who lead Gen X must allow this group to do the job but also must put in place avenues where X will not be forgotten. Xers will cringe when they hear the word “meeting” but probably because their meeting experience has been negative and inefficient. Instead, can you establish meetings that are productive and create a culture of recognition rather than constant and overt collaboration? Or, maybe you encourage Xers to serve as leaders of specific initiatives or projects and “force” them to delegate or interact with other employees.

Integrating Xers is a delicate balance because they do have a unique work perspective.

They work to live, they do not live to work, but they still value work ethic and job completion. While Xers may not find their identity in their jobs, they do have a desire for positions that reinforce their competence. They cannot appreciate leadership that is not-capable. As such, leaders must be good decision makers and establish and efficient and effective work environment.

What’s your legacy?

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