Individuals with different values, different ideas, different work habits, and different ways of communicating have always existed in the workplace. So, why has the generation mix become a problem now?
This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. Traditionalists and Baby Boomers remember when older workers were the bosses and younger workers did what was asked of them, no questions asked. There were well-defined expectations as to how the boss was treated and how younger workers treated older workers.
Today’s reality is different. Roles have changed and rules are being rewritten daily. . . at a pace that many Traditionalists and Baby Boomers find staggering.
A team’s success derives from capitalizing on the strengths of each of its members. This requires an appreciation of generational characteristics and an awareness of how to effectively deal with each individual. It’s a matter of managing differences.
Research has shown that people do communicate based on their generational backgrounds. While not everyone in a generation shares all of the various characteristics, there are general patterns. Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons
To see some of the characteristics that distinguish each generation, click here: http://www.birnbachsuccesssolutions.com/sites/default/files/Generat…
The key question is: How do you manage intergenerational groups — or any groups — with conflicting work ethics, dissimilar values and work styles? How do you enable them to work together in harmony? Below are six success solutions for building stronger multi-generational teams in the workplace:
SIX SUCCESS SOLUTIONS:
1. Maximize each person’s uniqueness. Learn what each employee values, wants and needs to be most productive. Make sure everyone on your team knows the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience that each member brings to the team. Find ways to demonstrate appreciation for the unique skills and accomplishments each worker brings to the team.
2. Involve everyone. A diverse group means more viewpoints and more creativity. Include team members from all age groups in brainstorming sessions. Keep older workers engaged. Conduct problem-solving and trust-building workshops in which all team members participate.
3. Model cultural sensitivity. Assess and eliminate your own negative stereotypes. Try to learn more about your team members; get to know them as individuals.
4. Emphasize commonality. Instead of focusing on differences, which can often lead to confrontation, continually remind your team of its common goals.
5. Develop a cross-generational mentoring program. Create an environment where learning and teaching are part of “the work” everyone does each day. Build it into job expectations. Support every opportunity for two-way mentoring and coaching.
6. Adopt the “Platinum Rule” — “Do unto others as they want to be done unto” rather than treating everyone the way we want to be treated. This shift from thinking of self to thinking of others honors individual differences.
These six success solutions will help create a respectful workplace where misunderstandings are minimized, each person’s contribution is valued, and difference is seen as an asset rather than a liability.