CEO Survey: Understanding the Generation Gap

The lukewarm evaluations of CEOs also may point to a
generation gap between typically baby boomer-era upper management and Gen X-
and Gen Y-age employees and managers. Several experts pointed out that younger
employees expect a more nurturing, less autocratic style of leadership.

“The old days of command and control are gone,”
says Vistage International CEO Rafael Pastor. “A CEO can’t
rely on the strength of his corporate structure to make things happen. Younger
employees expect a level of collaboration and communication that their parents
didn’t expect.”

Author Michael Abrashoff adds, “Today’s
younger generation requires a new set of managerial skills. They want to know
why you are doing things in a certain way and will only buy into a project if
they understand why you are doing what your doing.”

This doesn’t mean that Generation X
and Y employees aren’t capable of being great team players or that
they don’t care about the company. When asked what they would like to
discuss with their CEO if they had the chance, employees young and old showed a
remarkable degree of selflessness. More than half said that they wanted to chat
with the top boss about the company’s long-term vision or strategy.
Less than one in four wanted to talk with the CEO about their personal career
prospects or their salaries.

When asked what qualities they thought their
CEO valued most, the vast majority of employees young and old chose answers
like “integrity,” “delivering results,”
“innovative thinking,” “honesty,” and “resourcefulness.”
Fewer than one in 10 believed CEOs were impressed by smooth talkers or suck-ups.