10 Gen X Attitudes About Leadership, As Seen On TV

I notice there's a certain type of show I like: "Olympus Has Fallen," "Red Dawn," "Die Hard," "Homeland," "24," and "The Walking Dead." I'm a Generation Xer.

Each of these shows has a totally different plot. But they all seem to say the same things about leadership from a Gen X perspective. Here's how the leaders in these stories think, and what they seem to believe:

1) Freedom is the goal - this is the highest goal - we don't dictate to others and we don't let others dictate to us.

2) Bureaucracy hurts - the rules are getting in the way, they slow the response time so much that the response is ineffective.

3) Nobody understands - I get the danger, but others do not - and I will have to live with that.

4) Extreme self-sacrifice - the risks are so great and the odds are so against us, that I will likely die or be severely harmed to save everybody else. I am the only one who can fix it.

5) Likelihood of punishment or at most no credit - the best that can happen is that nobody knows you did anything at all. 

6) Anti-authoritarianism - the adults in the room are so messed-up, the best you can do is get them out of the way.

7) Results orientation - it is about getting the job done, not the process and not the team. "Whatever works."

8) Family is made, not born - it's not about blood ties but about who we choose for our circle, and we have a fierce and lifelong allegiance to them.

9) Protect the children - they are the innocent ones, it is our job to make the world safe for them and their future. They should never have to suffer.

10) Expose the truth - the real enemy is not a person but the lies a person tells and the evil they do in secret. Expose them for what they are, and the rest will fall into place. 


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, www.AllThingsBrand.com and www.DannielleBlumenthal.com, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.