One of the things that has struck me again and again when managing medical practices, is the difference between “generational” leadership style. 

I can recall stories of senior doctors who believe they have invested months or years mentoring junior doctors, only to have them suddenly disappear and compete just down the road.

On the other hand, I have heard many junior doctors complain that they ‘work like slaves’ and are never shown a formal path to equity in the business when a senior doctor retires.

Whilst having written agreements, a formal business plan and clear vision can benefit everyone in the practice, a lot of these issues can also come down to “generational leadership” styles.

The bottom line is that you only truly unlock medical and business innovation by seeking opinions and input from every generation – so here are my dos and dont’s for getting the most out of every generation, based on latest generational leadership research.

Baby Boomers 1946-1964 

Generational Talents: Optimistic, loyal, love to mentor  

Don’t: Be disrespectful to them or be disrespectful to authority in front of them.

Don’t be “too” digital or too informal in texting. They put more value on “formal” and “face-to-face”. 

Don’t disregard their value in the workplace – work defines their self-worth.   

Do: Publicly honour their experience and dedication; show them the benefit of their work; offer a reliable retirement benefit; appeal to their sense of discipline; respect their value for hierarchy and responsibility; give them a chance to mentor others.  

Famous Boomers: Mel Gibson (Australian actor), Julia Gillard (27th Prime Minister of Australia), Brendan Nelson (medical doctor, former leader of the Opposition, Chairman Boeing Australia), Barack Obama (44th US President), Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder), Sigrid Thornton (Australian actress), Donald Trump (45th US President). 

Gen X 1965-1980

Generational Talents: Excellent communicators, innovative, independent 

Don’t: Micro-manage. They witnessed their parents sacrifice time greatly (first generation of latch key kids), so they are used to doing things without people looking over their shoulder. 

Do: Appeal to their sense of entrepreneurialism and resilience. Do engage their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Do regularly verbally give credit for their work and give them high-level projects to execute. Gen-Xers also place a big emphasis on “trustworthy” employers and meaningful tasks.

Famous Gen Xers  Nicole Kidman (actress), Elle MacPherson (model, businesswoman, television host), Waleed Aly (journalist, lawyer The Project host), Julian Assange (Wikileaks Founder) Tiger Woods (golfer), Sarah Jessica Parker (actress), Elon Musk (entrepreneur), Cindy Crawford (US supermodel)

Nexters/Millennials/Gen Y  – 1981-1995

Generational Talents: Tech-savvy, love to collaborate, are focussed on “the greater good”.

Don’t: Avoid important social issues like the environment, recycling, human rights; be too autocratic. 

Do:  Get to know their interests and goals; show high levels of empathy and flexibility with hours; do train for new skills and let them present their successes; tell them how their work adds value ot the business.

Never forget to show gratitude for their contributions.     

Famous Nexters/Millennials: Dr Niki Stamp (Australian cardiothoracic surgeon) Libby Tricket (Austarlian swimmer) Miranda Kerr (Australian supermodel, businesswoman)  Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder, tech leader), Roger Federer (tennis player) Prince WIlliam (Duke of Cambridge) Harry Styles (singer-songwriter and former One Direction member). 

Gen Z-ers/i-Gen 1996-2010 

Generational Talents: Flourish in diverse environments, embrace digital, practical solutionists

Don’t: Ignore their pronouns; don’t throw them in the deep end without examples of best-practices or good feedback. (However they do like to discover and iterate on their own once they have general guidelines).

Do: Partner them with good mentors (open-minded boomers can be excellent!); articulate financial stability with a good wage

Famous Gen Z-ers: Bindi Irwin (conservationist TV personality), Gemma Ward (Australian supermodel and actress) Brenton Thwaites (Australian Actor, Malificent, Home and Away) Greta Thunberg (climate change activist), Billie Eilish (musician), Malala Yousafzai (human rights activist), Shawn Mendes (singer-songwriter) Baby Ariel (Tik Tok/social media personality) 

Gen Alpha 2011-2025

Generational Talents: Screenagers, raised with the “global” internet, so open to shared customs, values and experiences; they speak “social” as much as their native tongue.

They will take on jobs that don’t exist yet .

Don’t:  Underestimate their power.These tiny tech titans will soon outnumber Baby Boomers and expected to enjoy lifespans well into the 22nd Century; don’t make things too “wordy” or boring to engage them; and don’t preach – they often reject “the word from on high” and prefer social influencing behaviours and authentic video, rather than “testimonials”. 

Do: Appeal to their desire for mobility; gamification and their visual prowess. 

Do provide lots of plant based options (the most health conscious generation yet); do showcase diversity including (carbon zero) and workshops on LGBTQ+ societies. 

Famous Gen Alphas: Prince George, son of Prince William, Pixie Jacenko (Australian Instagram influencer 121,000 followers) 

Do you need a 1,2 or 5 year business and financial plan for your practice? Is the generational culture working in your practice? Do you have the right people to address diversity in age and culture? Email Russell or call today on 0419 210 540.