Baby Boomers are predominately in their 50s and 60s, now. They are well-established in their careers and hold positions of power and authority. At the same time the world continues to be rocked by scandals and unethical behavior caused by senior people in companies who are easily in the Baby boomer category. Does this raise the question about the type of leaders the Baby Boomers are and about their succession plans?
The characteristics of Baby Boomers may accelerate the governance challenges faced by society. They were primarily work centric, independent and competitive.
Work-Centric: Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks and prestige. Baby Boomers work long hours.
Independent: Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believe they can change the world. They questioned established authority systems and challenged the status quo.
Competitive: Since Baby Boomers equate work and position with self-worth, they are quite competitive in the workplace. Boomers believe in hierarchal structure and rank and may have a hard time adjusting to workplace flexibility trends.
Unfortunately, these characteristics don’t suit the current environment. So not only are they causing the scandals but they’re also ruining the future with no succession plans. The type of leaders they’re nurturing don’t fit the Baby Boomers style and have not been coached to lead. We all know that the consequences of poor decisions can be dramatic and far reaching, due to poor leadership skills. Because Baby Boomers were hard working, self reliant and self motivated they expect the next generation under them also to be like them. These Boomers did not think of “ethical leadership” because in the hierarchy whatever the person at the top said was right and was not challenged.
Therefore, it goes without saying that the more senior the leadership role, the more influence and impact the leader had. However, as they did not worry of ethics and consequences they did not consider the impact of decisions on a broader group of stakeholders. Such a situation may have led to scandals.
To prevent scandals and to ensure that the negative factors of the Baby Boomers don’t affect your company, a sound oversight and governance structure is required. Structures should be in place to provide the leader with a sounding board so that he can get sound advice. The X-generation can be trained and coached to understand ethics.This will help to prevent them from taking ill-advised decisions and actions that may ultimately cause harm to people, planet or the company.
Baby Boomers, …..lit’s not the 1940s. It’s the time to focus on the future generation. Make them ethical, motivate them, make them believe in their potential.