When Generations X and Y Manage Baby Boomers – and Visa Versa

Jeff Rendel

Jeff Rendel

During the “Generations X, Y, and Z” breakout session at the 2014 IBA Bank Management Conference in Des Moines, one portion of the conversation focused on management and leadership when up and coming generations serve as managers for the more seasoned among us.  In a nutshell, the guidance for this specific occurrence included:

  • Respect experience and incorporate it into a management style.  Fellow bankers who have invested their careers in the bank and industry are excellent sources of information and even better resources regarding “How things really get done around here.”
  • Use other’s natural and professional leverage.  Now and again, experience and gravitas sells, especially when sign off may need to come from the CEO.  The strategic influence many peers hold is often a tactical advantage.
  • Be indispensable by understanding how all of the pieces of the bank fit into the whole.  What seems a great idea for branch sales may need support and backing from the back office.  Understanding the moving and interrelated parts of the bank’s operations helps ideas move forward.

But, what if a Baby Boomer happens to manage a Generation X or Y professional?  What aspects help to develop the next set of bank leaders as one manages from day to day?

  • Establish regular expectations and deliver a message of accountability.  Far from a top-down leadership style, this approach involves explaining an essential result to achieve along with the appropriate benefits and downsides that might occur.  Allow the professional you manage to be the, in effect, CEO of his or her job.
  • Task your colleague with making a product, service, or process more successful.  A solid way to enhance professional engagement is to task your colleague with “building a better mouse trap.”  What new ideas might help grow loans, deepen customer relationships, and increase branch efficiency?  Ask your colleague to build and present their business case for increasing your bank’s value and allow them to execute on their ideas for growth and success.
  • Check in on a regular basis.  Informality reigns here; memos and offsite lunch meetings are not required.  Your colleague’s style will drive this idea; but, a mid-morning drop-in, mid-week cup of coffee; and a weekly update will serve you well.  You may also find ways to use your experience and leverage to help your colleague prosper.

Several generations are at work at your bank and all want to succeed.  Communicating the results required, expecting all to lead in their duties, and following up to understand and help ensure progress are tools every bank professional can put to use.  The results can lead to generations of success for your bank and its leaders – current and future.

Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with financial services providers that want elite results in leadership, sales, and strategy.  Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.


One response to “When Generations X and Y Manage Baby Boomers – and Visa Versa

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