Generational leadership

What is generational leadership?

Interest in generational leadership is on a remarkable rise in recent years, and this phenomenon can be attributed to several key factors. Organizations often face challenges and collaboration difficulties that arise due to differences in generational approaches to work. Different values, work styles and expectations can create friction that affects efficiency and harmony in the workplace.

In the larger societal context, the focus on generational leadership is closely linked to a demographic trend. Here, larger generations are gradually exiting the workforce and retiring, while smaller generations are entering the workplace and beginning their careers. This shifting dynamic creates a shift in workforce composition, and it's crucial for businesses to understand, attract and retain employees across generations to ensure continuity and success.

The future will bring increased competition for skilled employees, and mastering generational leadership will be key to meeting these challenges. This means leveraging the unique strengths that each generation brings to the table, while working to create an inclusive work culture that unites differences and promotes collaboration.

Generational leadership: Remember the local context

Generational leadership is sometimes criticized for being built on too many all-encompassing generalities. It's a harsh criticism, because there's certainly a lot of good to be found in generational leadership.  

The generational perspective is not a normative truth, but a socially constructed phenomenon. We use it to understand why we experience differences in our colleagues' behavior across age groups. However, it's important to complement the overall generational characteristics with the local context of your organization and the challenges and opportunities you face. We can help you make this connection to your organization and local context. 

Generational leadership cannot stand alone, but supplemented with local leadership, the generational perspective can create meaning, strengthen understanding, facilitate communication and enhance collaboration. 

Three typical needs for better generational leadership

There are many good reasons for the need for better generational leadership. Three of the reasons that come up again and again are: 

  1. Many organizations face challenges when colleagues across age groups need to work together. In this situation, it can be very beneficial to create a better understanding of each other's needs and natural preferences. Because when you're 55 years old, you can easily have a different perception of what it means to go to work and what a good working life looks like than when you're a 25-year-old recent graduate. This is the generation gap, and it often leads to conflicts. 
  2. In many parts of the country, organizations are struggling to find and recruit the right employees. This places greater demands on recruitment and retention efforts. The problem is a result of both demographic trends and changing expectations of what a career should entail. 
  3. More organizations are focusing on wellbeing and the work environment. But in many places, there is still room for improvement. For example, diversity studies show that organizations that are able to accommodate diversity among colleagues have better well-being and greater cohesion in the workplace. 

LEAD's approach togenerational leadership

Whether you have one of these three needs - or your desire to engage more with generational management is due to other reasons - we are ready to help you. For example, a collaboration could be about communication and understanding across generations, the attractive workplace or a healthy psychological work environment. 

Here at LEAD, we have extensive experience in advising and inspiring you on how to succeed with gifted generational leadership. Among other things, we can help you with: 

  • The four generations in the workforce: There are four generations in the workforce at the same time. What characterizes each generation? What values and expectations do the generations bring to work? 
  • Welcome to the new generation: Why do young people check social media before reading emails? Why do they surf the web when they need to immerse themselves? New forms of presence, openness and recognition are emerging as young people enter the workplace. How do you create the right environment for innovative employees? 
  • Enhanced intergenerational collaboration: What are some ways you can improve intergenerational collaboration in your organization? For the benefit of both younger and older generations. 

How we can help you

We offer you leadership and organizational sparring, research-based training and presentations on generational leadership as well as training courses with a specific focus on giving you and your organization general leadership skills. Read examples of our services here.


Inspiring research-based presentations on generational leadership for all levels of your organization.


Sparring in the development of your strategy, decisions and initiatives.


Facilitation of active workshops focusing on competence development at management and executive level.

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your organization

Are you facing an organizational change? Do you need strategic advice or a cultural development program?

Contact us and together we will tailor a process that develops the exact competencies and structures that strengthen and future-proof your organization.

Claus Elmholdt

Professional Director, Founder
Cand.Psych.Aut. & Ph.d.
Associate Professor in Management and Organizational Psychology, Aalborg University

Mobile: +45 26 14 51 57