The multigenerational workplace is an inescapable, seemingly impossible thing to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be. Bridging the generational gap is something that can be done with the right techniques and an open heart.
What are the different generations that you may encounter?
The four generations that you will find in your workplace are Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation Xer’s and Millennials. Traditionalists include people born before 1940. Baby Boomers are the generation between 1940 and 1960. Generation X was born between 1960 and 1981. Finally, Millennials include anyone born after 1981, but before 2001. Between the four generations, there is a wide variance in communication preferences and styles. However, it’s possible that you will encounter each of these groups in your workplace.
Differences in philosophies can cause tension.
It’s commonly believed that Millennials believe that jobs are easily replicable, whereas Baby Boomers are more inclined to stay at their jobs their entire lives. People from Generation X are a mixed bag when it comes to changing jobs. They believe it is necessary, but that each job should be given a fair chance to meet their needs. How can you, as a business owner or manager, contend with such differing philosophies without getting spread too thin?
The key to crossing the generational gap is an open heart.
Before you get frustrated with one of your employees, take some time to step back and consider their position. It’s highly unlikely that they are trying to frustrate you; they simply have a different background. Try to communicate with them openly, not only trying to get your point across, but also listening as closely as you can. Be patient. The generational gap can be a challenge, but when you practice active listening and put in a little effort, you can open the office into a place where everyone feels like they are heard and understood.
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