Leading different generations needs deeper insight into the backdrop of their time periods. Most businesses agree that their organization leads five different generations and some sub-categories: the Silents, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z.
Getting all these generations to be on the same page and work in collaboration with each other is challenging. In fact, the generation gaps create a sense of suspicion and a lack of trust for other generations at the workplace.
Therefore, managers need to prevent generation collisions, which in turn can result in organizational damage. To accomplish that, it’s a good idea to understand where the different generations have come from and what their expectations from the workplace are.
How To Lead Different Generations In A Workplace?
Here is a guide to understand and lead different generations working together at your organization:
1. Identify the Generation
Zemke, Raines and Filipczak authored a very insightful book, namely Generations at Work that provides a great understanding of each generation and how to make them work effectively at the workplace.
Each generation is designed by the time period it belongs to and the critical events of the era.
First, identify which generation does the employee fall into:
- The Silents or Veterans or Traditionals (1922 to 1946)
- The Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964)
- Generation X (1964 to 1980)
- Generation Y or Nexters (1980 to 2000)
- Generation Z (2000-present)
The Veterans are defined by the Great Depression and World War II. They value hard work, sacrifice, strict conformity to the set rules and regulations, and great respect for the authority. They are truly loyal employees.
The Baby Boomers are the second oldest generations in the workplace. They are identified with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. They highly value personal development, team involvement and individual gratification. Moreover, they are highly intellectual and educated, ambitious multi-taskers. The prefer career over employees.
Generation X is identified with Fall of Berlin Wall, MTV, and self-raised kids (as their parents had to work or were divorced. Personality-wise, they are self-sufficient and independent individuals. They value work-life balance, diversity and technology.
Generation Y is identified with technology and computers and TV talk shows. They were raised in a supportive environment and are quite confident, optimistic and sociable. They value multitasking, sociability, diversity and achievement.
Generation Z belongs to the present era of postmodernism. It is basically the one ready to embrace change and learn new things quickly. Yet, it’s against strict rules and regulations and is prone to feel bored easily.
2. Polish the Strengths of Each Generation
Generation conflicts occur when one generation looks at the weaknesses of other generation. For example, for the Millennials, the Veterans and Baby Boomers can appear to be very rigid; while, for the Veterans, the Millennials are lazy and easy-going generations.
Being a manager, you have to highlight the strengths of each generation and make each generation value other’s capacities. It will generate respect for other generations and they would like to help each other in other’s weak areas. For example, the Baby Boomers are intellectual and Generation Y is quite fast with technological handling.
Innovation training is truly the best solution to make each generation outshine in its own capacities. All in all, each generation is working for the betterment of the organization and they’d get involved in something new and challenging.
If you still have trouble helping each generation sharpening their axes, you can take up innovation management consulting. It’d be a great investment for the smooth running of your business where you will understand how to innovate and reduce conflicts between generations.
3. Adapt The Management Style
Each generation’s values and ethics are quite different; thus, you have to adapt your management style accordingly.
Veterans should be told that you value their seniority and experience. You should spend time with them to adapt to the innovative technological advancements and innovation management training (if they are team leaders) as it can be difficult for them to grasp it all at once.
As for the Boomers, they like to be in the limelight for their intellectual capacities. You can offer them developmental courses to stay at the top.
Generation X can be partnered with mentors. They don’t need a lot of supervision and neither can you expect them to break their work-life balance for job’s sake.
Generation Y can work with Baby Boomers and would love to be a part of training and developmental programs.
Apparently, the process looks easier; but, they are certain complexities to each generation. Innovation management consulting is one perfect way to master the art of managing different generations at present times. For more information, get in touch with us.