We’ve spent time identifying ageism and generational challenges (EP 197) as well as ways to gain an understanding when leading individual generations. (EP 198). Even with all the differences, there are some traits that will always be universal.
Common things we all share
Everyone desires respect among their peers and co-workers. This is the main reason why I don’t appreciate the phrase “OK Boomer”. I understand that it’s rooted in the frustration that a younger generation feels like they are ignored and being held to outdated ideology. Answering disrespect with disrespect only proves the other person’s point in their own mind and does nothing to build a meaningful relationship.
To be heard
Similarly, everyone has a desire to be heard. Take time to listen to others without judgment no matter the age difference. Their point and perspective is just as valid as yours.
On some level we all desire connection with others. People, for the most part, enjoy collaborating, mentoring and helping those that they are close to. We enjoy sharing ideas and thoughts when we feel safe and supported to do so.
Positive feedback, praise, and recognition go a long way no matter your age. It strongly affirms and builds confidence in your leaders while showing respect and appreciation for older leaders. You can never give out too much praise. The person who has been around 30 years will love it just as much as the person who has been around 30 days.
Keep the light on
Every generation hates being left in the dark. Be inclusive of all groups and communicate clearly with a varied approach to match your audience. When you don’t deliver the narrative and mission people will begin to write their own.
Magical things begin to happen in your organization when different generations work well together. Here are just a few of those benefits:
Forbes led a study that showed diversity being key to driving innovation in your team. It’s the increase in perspective and experience that is the fuel for talent and ideas here. Each generation can provide insight and knowledge to an innovative thought regardless of stereotypes.
Better serves your customer/client
The increased perspective also gives your team a great advantage of fully understanding your audience. This is one of the reasons why I always coach teams to match the customer that they deal with on a daily basis.
Future-proofing your workforce
Last year, we had Diana Wu David speak on our show (Ep 182) on future-proofing your success as an individual. Generations that work well across lines in a company future-proof the success of the organization. Your loss of knowledge drops significantly when older leaders leave and your younger leaders step into those roles.
We talk about the power of mentorship often, but mentoring in this circumstance can be a two-way street. The older ones can mentor younger leaders on people issues, industry knowledge, and best practices. The younger leader can return value by offering a perspective in changing demographics and technology changes.
Well rounded skillset
Your organizational and team ability increases as generations work together for a common goal. An example would be utilizing the communication preferences from last week’s lesson in a sales campaign. Your older team members could utilize phone outreach while your mid-tier leveraged email and your younger leaders reached out by apps, text, and social media.
There is beauty when different generations are working together and adding value to one another. Work hard to identify any issues that you may have, understand their perspective and lean into their uniqueness to lead them well. You and those around you will have a more fulfilling work experience.
Make a better tomorrow.