The key to managing different generations in the workplace 

Strategies for smart managers to employ 

Your mission today….?

To get two reluctant, busy colleagues to agree to organise the annual staff picnic.

workplace-peopleOne is in his 20s – a “millennial” who doesn’t seem to lift his eyes from his mobile phone, seems to have a short attention span and often requires detailed instructions for how to proceed at work.

The other is in her 60s. This lady, who is nearing retirement, has been with your company for the last 25 years, has no trouble working alone and is rather competitive in the office. 

What would your strategy be, to get this unlikely pair enthused about their assignment?

Like all good conundrums, it’s a bit of a trick question.

That’s because a smart manager wouldn’t employ just one strategy.

They would take a unique approach with each.

Chances are that these two very different individuals are going to respond to different arguments…

They’ll be interested in different aspects of the project, want different levels of guidance and be motivated by different rewards.

You see, with decades between them, they are likely to come with radically different expectations from the workplace and might have very different patterns of working.

Now, just a couple of decades ago that wouldn’t have mattered much.

Everyone understood that “Baby Boomers” were different to “Generation X”.

But it would have been ridiculous to expect your manager to adjust their way of working to yours, right?

You were expected to conform to the prevailing culture in your company – not the other way round.

If your boss wanted you to do something, they told you so.

There was no way they were going to think about the best way to approach, motivate and supervise each individual.

Things have changed, though.

The culture gap between the “digital natives” and older workers is unusually large – much larger than the gap between Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers ever was.

Growing up in an online world has given younger workers radically different life experience and ways of communicating than those who have come before them.

When talking to five people at once on WhatsApp seems more normal to you than a face-to-face meeting….

When you’re used to fulfilling the instructions you’re given very precisely – no more, no less…

When the line between your personal and professional life is so blurry that you insist on leaving work at 5pm to make it to a concert, but are happy to work at 11.30pm….

…you are just not going to respond to the same management techniques as older colleagues.

And there might be clashes, too, between team members with very different ways of working.

This has created a complicated environment for managers.

So nowadays, we need to go to much greater lengths to understand where each member of staff is coming from.

What will motivate them, and the best way to give them guidance and feedback….

…and increasingly, we need to adjust our style of management to our staff – rather than the other way round.

What precisely might this involve?

Manage the Gap Cover LARGE EBOOKThis is one of the big issues I tackle in my upcoming book, Manage The Gap: Achieving Success With Intergenerational Teams.

It is full of practical strategies you can implement immediately to manage an intergenerational team much more efficiently.

Not only will you learn how to bring out the best in every employee, whether they are “digital natives” or not….

You’ll learn how to do it without showing preferential treatment to any individual or group, and creating schisms amongst your staff.

Manage the Gap is being published on 21 October 2019. And I’m giving away 100 copies for free!

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Manage the Gap

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