Part 5 of 5
You can see how their attitudes would be shaped and impact relationships.
We need to identify what is causing the gaps between the generations. Not
only do we have the gaps, but they are also widening. Certainly, people
living longer has had an impact. That is a factor in the workforce and
outside with the demands on the economy and their children. Moving
from city to city and even country to country has challenged our ability and
willingness to get along with others. There is no question of the impact
of social media and the internet. Information is growing at an incredible
rate, yet what information is dependable and what isn’t. What we accept
in our culture has changed dramatically as well. Just look at the divorce
rate and declining church participation.
I remember hearing when I was younger the expression, those darn
kids nowadays. Now I sometimes catch myself saying the same thing.
If I focus on building bridges with every generation, I notice how trust is
impacted. And if we trust each other, we can have constructive conflict.
That’s a great starting point.
Let’s begin to put that research and knowledge together to build
- Seek out differences. Whatever the situation, we need to learn
as much as we can about each other. That is true in and out
of the workplace. Consider conducting core values training.
- Listen and pay attention. Simple, but not easy. Give people
the chance to share their thoughts and ideas and truly engage
with them. Consider dedicated communication training.
- Meaningful engagement. Find excuses to get input. Seek it
out in your meetings. Everybody needs and wants to be heard.
In the same vein, you also need people to understand not
everybody’s opinion can be implemented. Consider exercises
to build trust and constructive conflict.
- Personality. Take the time to understand your teammates. A
tool like DISC is a fantastic way to get started on that journey.
Consider your team utilizing the DISC assessment with debriefs
and a workshop.
- Reverse mentoring. Tim Elmore suggests this in his book,
A New Kind of Diversity. It is a well-researched study into
generational differences. Have the younger generations mentor
the older generations. View younger generations as an asset
to better understand. Consider training staff on how to coach
and mentor their peers.
- Study leadership. Every, yes, every employee can improve
engagement by focusing on relationships and not management.
From the CEO to the front-line employees, consider evaluating
each individual leadership style and putting a plan together
with your talent.