If you choose to continue working after the official age of retirement, you stand a good chance of working in a team with Millennials and Generation X’s. There is also a high probability that your team will be led by someone from a younger generation.
what is the significance of this situation? Well, each generation comes with
its own traits and characteristics, and in many instances, we have different
values and focus on completely different aspects of the job to be completed.
benefits of building on our different strengths can be amazing. Yet too often
people fall prey to miscommunication due to a basic lack of understanding of
the ways others think and what they want to achieve.
you have a basic understanding of the generational differences, you may
struggle to get your head around their differing values and work styles.
may find yourself as the oldest member on the team, with the least amount of
delegated responsibility – especially if you are extending your work on a contract
basis. So how can you help make it work?
Be Flexible and Accommodating
tempting it is to tell the ‘youngsters’ how to do it, you need to realise they see
things differently. You can’t be certain their way is wrong, but it is likely
to be different, so you may have to learn to simply zip it!
an attitude which is open to learning from the younger generations. Age does
not mean we know best, especially as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
in mind that if you stereotype the younger generations, you stand a chance of
being side-lined because of your age, evoking ageist reactions.
it is important to understand the general characteristics of each generation,
do not box individuals in. No two people are exactly alike, so see each person for
what they bring to the team.
Learn from One Another
a willingness to learn from each other will bring down any walls between the
generations. The corporate advantage of keeping boomers on the team is to
facilitate the handing on of knowledge and information.
a boomer, you will be better off if you see it as a learning opportunity in
terms of technology and recent innovations. Successful multi-generational teams
are able to identify, value, and build on each others’ strengths.
our youth, it was drummed into us that we should respect our elders. In a
multi-generational team, it is important that everybody has respect for all the
members of the team. Your leader may well be younger than you, but that should
not diminish the respect they deserve.
Adopt a Flexible Communication Style
were always told how to communicate; that correct grammar and spelling are
essential. But, with technology come spell-checks, abbreviations, and phonetic
spelling, to mention a few.
operate in a multi-generational team you need to be flexible in your
expectations and weigh up whether it is essential to do it your way, before you
the younger generations, communication is good enough as long as it relays the
Focus on What Unites You
are many similarities between the generations, and you will need to focus on
these to gain group cohesion, rather than constantly noticing the differences. After
all, as employees, we are all there to get the job done and be remunerated.
all want to feel respected, that we can make a contribution and achieve the end
result. If you realise this you will go a long way to forming a cohesive
Don’t Waste Your Chance to Break the Boundaries
is your opportunity to break down some of the ageist stereotypes around boomers.
We look to those of you working in multi-generational teams to lead the way.
you want to learn more about the general characteristics of each generation,
there are plenty of sources you can check out online. It is worth reading
around the topic if you are working with different generations.
How often do you need to work with people from a younger generation?
How do you handle the differences? Do you have any special tips about breaking
down the generational boundaries? Please share them in the comments below.