Steer Past Generational Conflict
Growing Your Business | Global Strategic Management Solutions
Whether you are handling a baby boomer who is frustrated with the work ethic of a Gen Xer or you are mentoring an impatient Gen Y employee who has lost his cool with the technical skills of older team members, at some point the white flag has to go up and work must proceed.
The more you learn about successfully mixing generations, the more smoothly your workplace can get on with its work. After all, your organization has hired the people it feels can bring the right talents to the table and get the best work done, every day. Here are ways to refocus on the mission and move ahead:
Start by re-energizing. Ask yourself and your team why you are here. Take a moment to refocus the group on the overall mission and the project mission. What can this group accomplish that no one else can? Even this 10-minute detour in a weekly meeting will help everyone involved to remember their common ground, and reestablish the group identity.
Next, ask people to tell you how they are contributing to the group’s mission, today or this week. Take any theoretical or abstract talk off the table, so you can make the work (for today or this week) relate very directly to the greater goal.
Finally, integrate more collaboration to leverage the strengths of each member. This is especially useful in a cross-generational setting, because each age group can offer their own unique background, skills or experience set.
Confirm that everyone on the team should embrace learning from others and also have a willingness to teach. This atmosphere helps dissolve some of the generational tensions and reframes the situation so that everyone is a learner and a teacher.