Leading a generationally diverse workforce is challenging; this book provides a reader's guide of best-in-class strategies for harnessing and unleashing its potential.
Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce presents a transformative way to end the generational wars once and for all. This book first introduces Gentelligence as a powerful business strategy and shows why it is critical for the future of work. It then presents a practical guide and a call to action for leaders of all ages to unlock the potential strengths of each generation. Readers will learn how an intergenerational workforce can be reframed as a profound business opportunity and discover how Gentelligence can help them win the talent war, create strong, diverse teams, and build adaptable cultures that will flourish in an era of rapid change.
Gentelligence shares groundbreaking evidence that will have readers thinking about their generationally diverse workforce in an entirely different way. Readers will discover:
Gentelligence reveals the opportunities within an intergenerational workforce and provides actionable tools to help leaders build Gentelligent organizations. Unlike other books on generational leadership, this book rejects common stereotypes assigned to different generations, replacing them with a deep understanding of why those who grew up in different times may behave in unique and valuable, ways. We challenge leaders to go beyond simply accepting generational differences to leverage them proactively to increase engagement, innovation, and organizational success.
Megan W. Gerhardt, PhD is a Professor of Management, Director of Leadership Development, and the Robert C. Johnson Co-Director of the Isaac and Oxley Center for Business Leadership at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. She is also the creator of Gentelligence and the founder of The Gerhardt Group, LLC, a leadership consulting practice.
Megan has published widely on individual differences, motivation, leadership, and generational differences in the workplace and her work on Gentelligence has been featured on Forbes.com, NBCNews.com, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Inc. Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, MarketWatch, Business Insider and The Houston Chronicle among others. In 2017, her TEDx talk “Why I Love Millennials...and You Should, Too” was released, kicking off the Gentelligence movement. As the creator of the Gentelligence movement, Megan’s work (www.profgerhardt.com) focuses on leveraging individual differences to achieve leadership impact and extraordinary levels of performance."
Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall is an Associate Director of Financial Crime Prevention Policy and Procedures at UBS Financial Services, focusing on implementation and adherence to policies, local requirements, and global standards. Josephine’s work in leadership development focuses on strengths-based development, individual coaching, and the importance of personal mission and values in driving one’s life and career. She most recently gave a presentation at the Clifton Strengths Summit on “Why Strengths Work” and published an article on generational conflict and tension in December 2019.
Brandon Fogel is a Staff Consultant at Ernst & Young LLC in the People Advisory Services practice, which specializes in organizational change and people management. Brandon’s work in leadership development focuses on strengths-based development, effective teaming strategies, and the value of goal setting.
Chapter 1: Blame 60 Minutes: How Morley Safer Fueled the Generation Wars
Chapter 2: Our Generational Identities
Chapter 3: Mind the Gap: Roadblocks to Closing the Generational Divide
Chapter 4: The Gentelligence Solution: 4 Key Practices
Chapter 5: Filling the Pipeline: Leading Up (and Down)
Chapter 6: The Secrets of Gentelligent Teams
Chapter 7: A Gentelligent People Strategy
Chapter 8: Creating a Gentelligent Work Culture
Chapter 9: Gentelligence for the Future of Work
Recommended Resources List
About the Authors
Co-authors Gerhardt, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, and Brandon Fogel present strategies for managing a generationally diverse workforce. Their focus is on progressive, open approaches to balancing the different interests of different generations of workers. They replace an outdated us-vs.-them mentality by maximizing efforts to involve multiple generations throughout an organization. The authors explore the current state of generational conflict and tension, outline generational clichés and shared experiences, identify roadblocks to “Gentelligent” leadership, and explain how to champion diversity of thought to create stronger workplaces. The book details four key management practices: resist assumptions, adjust the lens, strengthen trust, and expand the metaphorical “pie.” This book expands nicely on Jason Dorsey and Denise Villa’s Zconomy. The extensive citations, supplemental reading sources, and bibliography firmly establish the credibility of this solid, impressive work. Vital for any organization with multigenerational staffs, and for marketers, public relations professionals, HRD managers, or executives. Highly recommended for all university libraries supporting business and psychology curricula.
The idea of “us versus them” has pervaded the workplace, argue management professor Gerhardt, leadership coach Nachemson-Ekwall, and Ernst & Young consultant Fogel in their outstanding debut on building intergenerational respect. The authors tout the benefits of “gentelligence,” or seeing the potential of generational diversity in the workplace as an opportunity rather than a threat, and lay out the roadblocks businesses may face in “closing the generational divide”: “generation shaming,” for example, is when blame is put on an entire age group, and ageism can be directed at both older and younger people. To counter these, the authors explain four practices that lead to gentelligence: resisting assumptions by replacing stereotypes with personal connections, adjusting one’s lens by asking questions, strengthening trust with a psychological safety zone, and “expanding the pie” by proactively searching for win-win opportunities. The guidance comes judgment-free, and the authors make a convincing case that a mixed-generation workforce can only benefit companies: “Every war has casualties. In the case of generational conflict, the loss is one of talent potential.” Informative and instructive, the strategies here will be invaluable to business leaders.
Readers interested in business and personnel management, organizational development, human resources, and leadership will find this timely, relevant book good for both reading straight through and consulting as a reference for supporting intergenerational workforce cultures and needs.
With organizations everywhere promoting diversity and inclusion, Gentelligence is an essential but overlooked piece to the D&I puzzle. As managers and leaders, we stand to create far more effective working and personal relationships around us if we had a greater awareness and understanding of generational blind spots. This book is the “how to” manual on navigating an intergenerational workforce, complete with lessons to tap all it has to offer. It’s hard to imagine winning the War for Talent without fostering an environment that celebrates generational diversity rather than stifling it. Gentelligence is indeed the future of work.
A critical resource for any leader that is overseeing a transition from “old school” to whatever is next. As social media, tech, and big data have more and more of an impact on every decision that we make, how do we make sure valuable perspectives shaped by experience and in possession of the most institutional knowledge are not left in our wake? Every major league sports executive is confronting these issues and is sure to benefit from framing them through the lens that Dr. Gerhardt provides.
As a millennial who has led teams and consulted for senior leaders from each generation in the workforce, I found Gentelligence: The Revolutionary Approach to Leading an Intergenerational Workforce to be one of the most practical and thought-provoking books on leadership I have ever read. The intersection of stories, case studies, and research not only opened my eyes to how I perceive other generations, but it also gave me actionable steps to better understand, relate to, and inspire people from every generation to find meaning and purpose in their work.
2/6/2021 - NBC News's Culture & Lifestyle section published an opinion piece by author Megan Gerhardt, titled "Super Bowl pits Brady against Mahomes, Bucs against Chiefs and Gen X against millennials." Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/super-bowl-pits-brady-against-mahomes-bucs-against-chiefs-gen-ncna1256906
1/8/2021 - Chief Executive quoted author Megan Gerhardt heavily in an article titled "Not OK, Boomer: Six Coping Strategies When Your Best Workers Start Retiring." The piece was syndicated by SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) in February. Link to original piece: https://chiefexecutive.net/not-ok-boomer-six-coping-strategies-when-your-best-workers-start-retiring/
1/21/2021 - NBC News' Culture & Lifestyle section published an opinion piece by author Megan Gerhardt, titled "Vice President Kamala Harris is the subject of a revealing generational custody battle." Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/vice-president-kamala-harris-subject-revealing-generational-custody-battle-ncna1255069
11/10/2019 - NBC News published a think piece by author Megan Gerhardt, titled "The 'OK, boomer' meme hurts Gen Z more than the older generation it's aimed at." Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/ok-boomer-meme-hurts-gen-z-more-older-generation-it-ncna1079276
5/25/21 - Transform Your Workplace podcast: Listen to Megan Gerhardt talk about multigenerational diversity in the workplace with host Brandon Laws.
8/31/21, Harvard Business Review: Megan Gerhardt offered advice for how to best manage a multi-generational team.