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4 Ways You Can Help Handle Generational Differences at Work

  1. Trust that Your Boss is the Right Person for the Job 

Having more life experience doesn’t equate to having more work experience. Your Millennial boss may actually be the best fit for the job. They may truly have the knowledge and experience your employer needed and wanted to hire. For example, your boss may have superior project management skills or excellent negotiating experience. So when your boss wants to use a new approach, don’t resist unless you have a solid reason. Keep in mind, ‘We’ve never done it that way before’, is not a solid reason.

Tip – Do your best to offer support and stay open to a new way of doing things – it could be an improvement and help you do your job even better!

  1. Don’t dwell on differences
    Let’s acknowledge the stereotypical differences in generations; the Millennial who wears flip-flops in the office; the Traditionalist (born prior to 1946) who seemingly won’t ever retire; the cynical Gen Xer who’s only out for himself; and the Gen 2020er — born after 1997 — who appears surgically attached to their smartphone. Just because someone fits into one of these boxes doesn’t mean they don’t have the company’s best interests in mind and want to contribute to the team. Don’t dwell on differences, especially as part of a group whining party with complaints such as: ‘People my age do things like this.’ Or ‘All Boomers act like that.’

Tip — Get to know each person individually. You may even form some new strategic alliances!

  1. Create opportunities for cross-generational mentoring
    Participate in mentoring programs that pair younger workers with seasoned employees to work on specific business objectives. Mixed-age work teams are a great way to promote cross-generational mentoring. Colleagues can learn more from each other than they do from formal training and inevitably bond, deepening the company culture.

Tip Join a mixed-age work team and see what you have to gain!

  1. Be open to all employees having a voice

Regardless of age and tenure, all employees need a forum in which to present ideas and concerns. A blanket communication approach won’t work across multiple generations. For example, Boomers may prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Millennials grew up being in constant communication with peers and coworkers so are accustomed to emailing, texting, or sending instant messages. One communication style is not necessarily better than another.

Tip — Stay focused on what’s most important – which is open, clear, and sufficiently frequent communication, so that work goals are achieved and relationships remain productive.

Are you struggling with how to successfully navigate your multi-generational workplace? If so, contact Marilyn today! Get started on reducing your work stress and propelling your career forward.