People in different generations often don’t agree on many issues. In fact, there is one thing they all agree on. Respect for each other in the workplace simply doesn’t exist.
The older generations think the younger workers are lazy and disrespectful. On the other hand, the younger generations think the older workers are stuck in their ways.
Despite these differences, people from varying generations must work together for the company to succeed. Conflict will appear if the team lets their generational outlooks get in the way.
Use the Following Suggestions to Work with Different Generations:
Know Each Preference for Different Generations
The Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers prefer face-to-face communication. They like a consensus. And they expect everyone to respect authority. In addition, they don’t like conflict and will avoid it at all costs.
Generation X and Millennials enjoy online meetings. They twitter to each other and use e-mail the majority of the time. They’re not afraid to confront others. They want their voices heard. They dislike being on teams and prefer to work alone.
We can’t assume every person in a particular generation thinks a certain way. In fact, knowing the generalities is a great first step. Therefore, take the initiative to learn about the different generations you work with.
In addition, the more you understand their point of view, the relationship improves. Also, find out what events shaped their lives. You will reduce conflict as a result of all this research. Plus you will respect each other more.
Spend Time with Different Generations
Simply knowing each other’s preferences is one thing. It’s another to actually spend time learning from the person. To begin with, remember that learning and mentoring is a two-way street. Younger people can learn things from the older generation. And seniors can definitely learn from the “kids.”
As you do this, realize that you’ll likely have to make compromises. For example, a younger person teaches an older person about some new computer tool. The younger person needs to employ patience during the training.
And the older person needs to keep an open mind to the new technology.
You’ll also have to confront your own personal biases and work through them.
Be Open to Talking Things Out
Older people don’t understand what all the pierced noses and tattoos are about. And the younger people can’t comprehend how someone shows such loyalty to a company. Instead of just wondering in silence, talk it out with the very people you don’t understand.
Above all, make sure that the conversation stays respectful. And does not turn into an accusatory yelling match. As a result, it will be a healthy way to gain a broader understanding of each other. The sooner you start the conversation, the quicker you’ll resolve generational differences.
Bridge the Gap With Different Generations
Different generations working together can be tough. Additionally, all generations need to be open. And take the time to really listen to each other. As a result, you can overcome any perceived differences real or otherwise. A little generational understanding can go a long way to boosting the company’s bottom line.
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Joyce Weiss: The HR Professional’s Partner. She coaches employees and managers so they feel heard and respected. Which means they feel comfortable using their voice without losing their cool.
Kick Conflict to the Curb™ is her newest online 6-week course that is getting a lot of buzz in the training industry. Participants learn how to tackle tough conversations and earn the respect they deserve.
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Do you want to Kick Conflict to the Curb™? Contact Joyce at 248.681.5831 or Joyce@JoyceWeiss.com.