With 2006 underway and the Baby Boomers beginning their move into retirement, many companies are searching for ways to attract, retain and motivate the next generation of leaders. The more seasoned generations have an incredible amount of experience and expertise, while the younger generations are techno literate and eager to learn. The opportunities for collaboration and growth are tremendous.
The more seasoned generations have an opportunity to share their expertise and aid in the development of the next generation of leaders. Likewise, the younger generations have in front of them an opportunity to learn from the experiences of the generation that came before them.
That being said, why are not the more season generations sharing their expertise and mentoring the youngest generations? Why are not the youngest generation employees reaching out for mentorship? Why are the younger generations jumping from job to job – from company to company? Why is there such a disconnect between generations? Why are companies spending so much money on training their new hires, just to turn around and watch them leave to work for other companies?
Fostering a work environment in which employees from a variety of generations can work in partnership towards the achievement of the company mission, grow together and learn from each other, while reaching their individual goals, requires awareness and understanding. Each generation has unique work ethics, diverse perspectives on work and life, distinct preferred ways of being managed, individual styles and unique ways of viewing such work-world issues as quality, service and showing up for work.
Managing The Generation Gap
1. Assets: stable, detail oriented, thorough, loyal, hard working
2. Liabilities / Challenges: inept with ambiguity and change, associated to buck the system, uncomfortable with conflict, reticent when they disagree
1. Assets: service oriented, driven, willing to "go the extra mile," good at relationship, desire to please, good team players
2. Liabilities / Challenges: not naturally "budget minded," uncomfortable with conflict, reluctant to go against peasants, may put process ahead of results, overly sensitive to feedback, judgmental of those who see things differently, self-centered
1. Assets: adaptable, technoliterate, independent, unintimidated by authority, creative
2. Liaisons / Challenges: impatient, poor people skills, inexperienced, cynical
1. Assets: optimism, tenacity, heroic spirit, multitasking capabilities, technologically savvy
2. Liabilities / Challenges: need for supervision and structure, inexperience – particularly with handling difficult people issues
Ultimately, How Can the Generations Understand Each Other Better?
Employees from all levels and each generation within the organization must be formally trained in generational workplace dynamics. Once individuals from the various generations understand each other, they can discuss those differences openly, identify strengths and weaknesses, and successfully plan for the most effective way to reach desired goals.
When Silents and Boomers take the time to understand Xers and Yers, and Xers and Yers take time to understand Silents and Boomers, the relative contributions will bring extra results.
Source by Misti Burmeister
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