The workplace is changing and generational challenges within teams is a common occurrence. From rules to locations and hours, every workplace is different. Today, organizations are made up of team members in varying age groups and this may lead to generational challenges. From Boomers to Millennials, staff are comprised of talented folks of varying ages. As such, it is important to value, understand and respect one another for the knowledge, experience and perspective that everyone brings to the boardroom table. But how do we do this?
One way is to be receptive to feedback. Everyone in the office perceives each situation differently. Perhaps they have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way over time or that is the way their generation views/viewed a variety of topics. If you find that someone of a different age group is offering advice, be open to what they have to say. Do not dismiss easily, as everyone’s opinions matter and should be valued.
What happens if you find yourself in the situation that your supervisor is younger than you? As in all business relationships, respect is key. Remember, they would not be in the role that they are in if someone did not feel that they had a lot to offer. Be sure to keep an open mind and understand that there is more than one way to face to a challenge. Discuss with your employer what is the best way to examine the projects and ideas you are currently working on. Perhaps instead of daily pop-ins, they would prefer to meet weekly, monthly or bi-weekly. As you feel more comfortable, you will be able to produce some of your best work yet.
Communication is important before issues arise, but it is equally as important to communicate your issue after an issue has arose. The longer you wait to address an issue, it may become more difficult for those involved to explain their side of the story or to a stop to the behavior before it happens again. Just the same, if someone communicates their concerns to you, it is important to respect their limits. Invite dialogue, rather than shy away from it. This may lead to a more open and honest workplace culture.
-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist