Magazine article USA TODAY

Generation X Shuns Charismatic Leaders

Magazine article USA TODAY

Generation X Shuns Charismatic Leaders

Article excerpt

Eighteen- to 30-year-olds may be the first generation of Americans not looking for charismatic national figures to lead them. According to a poll of Generation Xers conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, young adults believe small groups of resourceful individuals with practical know-how will take the lead instead of big institutions, experts, and/or authority figures. In addition, GenXers are witnessing strong leadership in their own backyards, where teachers, coaches, and even family members are working together to solve the problems of the future.

"Young adults have grown up with no living memory of the activism of the 1960s or the leadership icons that in many ways defined their parent's generation," notes Peter Hart. "Instead, young adults have witnessed an era of heightened cynicism toward both government and political leaders."

When asked who their role models for leadership are, 40% of the respondents cited family members and 26% teachers or coaches, while a mere four percent identified political leaders. "This generation does indeed have a new vision of leadership, and it's not what their parents said it was," says Chuck J. Supple, president of Public Allies, the Washington, D.C., leadership development organization that commissioned the poll. …

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