Join Britt Andreatta for an in-depth discussion in this video Managing multiple generations, part of Management Foundations (2013).
- Let's take a look at some of the key traits of each generation. Generational dynamics play out everyday. And as a manager, it will serve you to know more. A generation is a society-wide peer group who collectively possess shared values, attitudes, world views and even behaviors. Generations are shaped by a series of forces like family life, education, media and world events. Generations occur in every country and culture but are unique to that cultural context. In this course, I'm going to focus on the generations in the U.S. and Canada.
Follow along on the handout in the exercise files. Let me issue a warning about generational research, it's broad brush strokes about a group of people, but not necessarily true about each individual in that generation. I want you to take this all with a very large grain of salt. Baby boomers were shaped by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the advent of television and credit cards. Some of their key traits are being hardworking, focusing on accomplishments, and questioning the status quo. At work, they're motivated by making an impact, being involved in decision making, having challenging goals, and rewards based on results.
The rewards they value include money, security, recognition and time off. Gen-Xers were shaped by working parents and being latch-key children. The threat of nuclear war, and the advent of the personal computer. Some of their key traits include, being fiercely independent, being informed, and taking the initiative. At work, they're motivated by having room to challenge the status quo, freedom and autonomy, opportunities for development, and rewards for independent thinking.
Rewards they value are freedom, flexibility, training and time off. And Millennials were shaped by attachment parenting, earning rewards for effort, the greatest economic boom in history sharply turning into a recession, and the advent of the internet and social media. Their key traits include being technologically savvy, globally aware, and collaborative. At work they're motivated by making a difference, clear expectations, intellectual challenges, access to technology and rewards for competence.
Rewards they value are meaningful work, choices, mentoring, and recognition. The generations also differ on several key aspects of professional work, including the type of feedback they prefer. Boomers enjoy a little feedback, provided occasionally and in person. Whereas Xers like lots of feedback at regular intervals. And Millennials want continuous feedback, preferably online so they can access it at any time. Another way they differ is how they earn rewards. In broad terms, Boomers believe that if you put in long hours, work hard and pay your dues, you'll earn rewards.
Xers believe rewards are unreliable, so you need to create your own path and keep your options open. And Millennials believe that if you do what's expected, rewards will come quickly. They also communicate and use media very differently. Boomers prefer face-to-face communication, Xers use computers for communication and they also like to maintain boundries between their work hours and personal lives. Millennials grew up with the internet and social media so they have very few boundries between work and personal communication. Known as digital natives, they're very comfortable with technology, especially smart phones.
Each generation brings wonderful things to the work place. Managing the generations effectively is all about maximizing their strengths to support the success of the organization. Since the next video will cover Millennials, let me focus on Boomers and Gen-Xers. Boomers are experienced and knowledgeable. Tap into their wealth of expertise by giving them leadership opportunities. They're future oriented, optimistic and committed to customer service. So they can play a key role in helping your organization maximize it's current and future opportunities.
They're hardworking, dedicated, great team players and make excellent mentors to others. Gen-Xers are independent and adaptable, making them comfortable with change. Their willingness to question the status quo often have them at the core of creativity and innovation. Because they had to develop their technological literacy, they're very good at helping organizations take advantage of the benefits of technology. Ultimately, managing the generations is really a continuation of our earlier conversations. You want to find ways to motivate and engage your people, in meaningful ways.
To do this, use the following strategies. First, understand and appreciate generational differences and strengths. This course gives you a good overview, but continue your learning by reading some of the books I recommend in the exercise files. Second, focus on engaging each individual. While knowing trends can be helpful, it can also lead to inaccurate assumptions. Get to know your people and what matters to them. Third, be flexible. Generation is only one aspect of your peoples identities. Their values, cultures and life experiences also play key roles.
There's no one way of managing that works in every setting, so embrace all that diversity brings. Fourth, tend to natural tensions. As you learn about generational differences, you can see where conflict may arise. This will help you know how and when to smooth out potential miscommunications or misunderstandings. Finally, harness and maximize strengths by providing training and coaching. If you focus on helping each person maximize their potential, you'll naturally bring out the best in everyone. Also, consider how you can create mentoring partnerships so that your people will use their own strengths to help each other grow.
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- Choosing a management style
- Hiring employees
- Coaching employees
- Managing team performance
- Establishing trust
- Motivating and engaging others
- Delegating responsibilities
- Avoiding micromanagement
- Managing remote employees
- Knowing HR regulations<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.