top of page
Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Characteristics and Needs of Generations

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


June 09, 2014

Our deep structures are the results of our lifetime experiences and the meaning we make of them. They consist of our values, beliefs, identity, and mental models. Because generations have common experiences at similar developmental stages of life, there are patterns to the meaning they make. Here are some patterns that are common to the generations we described last week.

Traditionalists (1922-43)

Respect authority, loyal, averse to risk, hard working, detail-oriented, dedicated, financially and socially conservative

Baby Boomers (1944-64)

Optimistic, well educated, competitive, loyal, high expectations, strong opinions

Gen Xers (1965-1981)

Skeptical, resourceful, independent, entrepreneurial, straightforward

Millennials (1982-2000)

Strong technology skills, pragmatic, confident, collaborative, versatile, busy

Some of the workplace needs that have been described by Abrams and von Frank include:


Respect, commitment, consistency, privacy

Baby Boomers

Privacy and validation

Gen Xers

Flexibility and work-life balance


Quick rewards, instant feedback, safety

How do these patterns fit for you personally? Which of these most match those of other generations with whom you work? What might be some implications for how these affect the dynamics of your teams? Begin to notice how these filters of perception might be impacting the collaborative capacity of your team. Which generations might be most open to Cognitive CoachingSM?

Source: The Multigenerational Workplace by Jennifer Abrams and Valerie von Frank

bottom of page