Effective Leadership In 21st Century, Part 2

3. 17. 2016

This is a Generation X group. They are independent, family focused and do not impress bureaucracy. They are self-driven, hardworking and love social responsibility. They are entrepreneurs and love diversity. Unlike the boomers they do not like organization structure as they deal with task execution and direct communication. They do not appreciate hierarchy. 

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Some authors argue that as much as this generation is important to an organization they are hard to keep and to motivate. They get frustrated easily and if they are not left to work independently they can quit easily (Smith, 2013).

While my encounter with the generation of the 70’s in Asia, they are quite confused with the best way of leading people. The reason is simply they were led by 60’s which is obviously an autocratic style and they are dealing with their own 70’s generation expectations, the demanding 80’s and 90’s. Indeed I could feel they are going through a series of challenging transformation with this work force demographic change now.

In my opinion, when dealing with these employees, they need to be given space to work and make decisions. Empowerment should also be used as a tool of motivation. If given space they can climb the ladder fast.

They also need to develop the modern leadership style from John Maxwell’s philosophy of leader, which is “to serve and not to be served”.

Last but not least, they have to master the coaching skills when they lead the 80’s and 90’s generation.

This generation still has a long period of working life span and they are still energetic and passionate with what they are doing now and we must not neglect their inner feeling of motivation.


This group is also known as the millennial. They are influenced by technology and are highly socialized. They are impatient and want to get results instantly. To achieve this they multitask and are innovative and creative. They come up with new ideas. They are ambitious and want success. They want to grow within a very short time. They are hard to manage and like changing jobs.  They do not want to stay in one place for long and don’t care about job securing.

They are technology savvy, they communicate through email, text, voicemail and value lifestyles.

What I observed about people in this generation is that they are not very confident in face to face discussion and always prefer to use the technology to communicate. They have a big dream but lack the motivation to take massive actions.

Hence, leaders need to give them space, encourage them to be innovative - especially in the technological world. They also need to be given room to balance work and life.  Any conflict arising from work should be solved amicably and fast before they think otherwise.

They are also hungry for new knowledge and leaders must provide them with lot of opportunity to learn through training and coaching. They want more autonomy in their working environment, and leaders need to give them this freedom to carry out their tasks to prove their worthiness and capabilities.

Author: Chong Kwee, Ng, student at LIGS University


Deal, J., Karen, P., & Heidi, G. (2001) Emerging Leaders: An Annotated Bibliography, North Carolina, Centre for Creative Leadership.

Dorsey, J. (2010),  Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons. Inc.

Holtz .G.T. (1995). Welcome to the Jungle. The Why behind Generation X. New York, St. Martin’s Press

Owram, D. (1996).  Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation, Toronto Buffalo London, University of Toronto press.

Ohlott, P. J. & Eastman, L. J. (1994) Age difference in developmental job experiences, Dallas TX,

Smith, A. (2013). The Gen X and Millennial Guide to a Thriving Career, USA, iUniverse LLC

John C Maxwell (2005) Developing the Leader Within You, USA Thomas Nelson

Watkins. C. (1999). Grads to Grannis, Managing the generational gap. Food Management 34(9) 31-25

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