How challenging do you find it to lead across generations?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 250,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How challenging do you find it to lead across generations?

  • Somewhat challenging. It takes effort to cut across generations. 45.4%
  • Not hard at all. People are people. 41.5%
  • Very. There are so many different issues and dynamics to deal with. 10.4%
  • I don't lead across different generations. 1.8%
  • Extremely. I don't know where to begin. 1.0%

People are people. Is this whole “leading across generations” challenge as big as the market would have us believe? According to your responses, it’s not as big of an issue as it’s made out to be. Only 10% of you say it’s a big challenge. The rest of you feel like it takes some effort but it’s not excessive. What’s important here is maintaining your focus on treating people as individuals. As long as you focus on the wants and needs of each individual and lead them accordingly, the generational issues should take care of themselves. Beyond that, it can be a big mistake to lead a stereotypical group because you might miss important individual elements that aren’t accounted for by the group personality.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."