Managing multiple generations in the workplace doesn’t have to be as complicated as we’re making it out to be!
These different generations working together has been a topic for over a decade now. It’s obvious that every generation has it’s strengths, and it’s limitations!
While there are certainly differences worth noting, we need to be careful not to get caught up in stereotyping, ostracizing and creating bigger issues.
While these generational differences can be real, they do not apply to every single person that was born within that generation’s time frame. You may have experienced this yourself. Someone starts describing the Millennials and you just don’t see yourself fitting in there.
There are so many other things that also shape a person’s behaviors - your socioeconomic status, the region you grew up in, your birth order, your gender… I think you get the picture!
What research has found is that across all generations, there are three things we all want:
Where it can get a little tricky, is knowing how to give respect, recognition and rewards to people in each of the generations. Understanding some of the differences between the generations is a great starting point. But the variation within each of these generations is greater than the variation between the generations.
In other words, we must customize our approach for each individual. If we spend a little time getting to know our people, rather than making assumptions about them, we’ll be able to connect in a meaningful way. And we’ll avoid a lot of misunderstanding.
One of the easiest ways to begin connecting with your people is to start meeting with them both formally, on a regular basis, and informally throughout the week. Think of questions to engage them. Be fully present and genuinely listen to them. Allow no distractions. Make it a point to circle back with them, checking in on the things that are most important to them.
Making this small time commitment might prove to be your best leadership move yet!
One of my favorite tools to help us begin to learn about these differences within the generations and across the generations is DiSC. For example, depending on your DiSC style, you may prefer to be recognized in public, or only in private. What you want to be recognized for will vary, as well as the amount of recognition you prefer.
DiSC provides a safe and fun way to open up the dialogue about the preferences and tendencies we have. I’ve seen teams really come together after having this dialogue, and managers start to understand why there were so many miscommunications!
I’d love to help you start bridging the great generational divide in your team. Send me an email and let’s get to work!