Join Christina Schlachter for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding multiple generations, part of Managing Multiple Generations.
- How many of you have heard someone say, "In my day..." when people talk about how different their generation is from others? Generational differences are nothing new, but they are becoming more prevalent in our workforce, not just at family reunions. With adults living longer and older adults wanting to maintain their lifestyle throughout their retirement, retiring at age 65 is no longer the norm. No longer are promotions and career paths tied to how long you've been at the job, which means a 27-year old may very well be managing someone 40 years older than them.
This brings new challenges. Before you start managing different generations, you first need to understand how vastly different their perspectives can be on even the simplest issues. To see how these generational perceptions can be significant, think about the diverse answers you may get to this simple question from different generations: "Where were you when Kennedy died?" That simple question quickly shows how every generation comes to work with an entirely different history that can result in the meaning of actions, questions and statements you make in the workplace being interpreted in many different ways.
But there is also opportunity when it comes to working with generational diversity. Generation gaps can also help us think of new solutions to problems, and perhaps, apply old ideas to new challenges. Since your job, as a manager, is to be able to maximize everyone's work, you'll want to adapt your management style so that you can best tap into this broad mix of history and backgrounds, and motivate your employees and help them work best.
- Observing different generations at work
- Avoiding overgeneralizing generations
- Motivating different generations
- Communicating across generations
- Developing employees
- Changing your management style to fit different generations