“Gen X bridges the analog and digital worlds. They were born into one world, but started their career in another,” said Lisa Chamberlain, author of Slackonomics: Generation X in the Age of Creative Destruction, at a concurrent session organized by the NEXT Leadership Initiative at the Fall Meeting in New York.
This theme of bridging two worlds set the scene for a wide-ranging discussion of generation X’s role in leadership across real estate organizations, covering topics from recruitment and staff development through office layouts and company cultures.
The discussion highlighted the critical role that members of gen X—those born between 1961 and 1979—have in connecting other generations in the modern workplace. Jeremy Stephenson, president of Milhaus, an Indianapolis-based mixed-use and multifamily developer, noted the lack of trust that can often exist between the baby boomers and millennials, driven largely by their differing values and ways of working.
However, gen Xers are more than just mediators between two different generations. The demographic has its own distinct style. “Gen Xers are open, collaborative and used to working in flat organizational structures,” said Jonathan Brinsden, CEO of Houston-based investment and development firm Midway. Gen X also has its own challenges with dealing with older colleagues. “The feeling among many gen-X workers is that they are being held down by baby boomers,” said Chamberlain.