I have had the opportunity to catch up on some reading this past winter on generational differences. As I meet and talk with many of you at the Chamber, these differences are affecting our business community locally, more than we may want to admit. Below are excerpts from an article that may help you to start your own understanding of how to handle these trying circumstances.
“Sometimes working with people of different generations can be frustrating. Here are some tips on understanding other age groups and how they think. The problem of distinct generations — the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y — working together and often colliding as their paths cross. Individuals with different values, different ideas, different ways of getting things done and different ways of communicating in the workplace have always existed. So, why is this becoming a problem now? This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace. Remember, if you are old enough, when older workers were the bosses and younger workers did what was asked of them, no questions asked? There were definite rules as to how the boss was treated and how younger workers treated older workers. No longer: Roles today are all over the place and the rules are being rewritten daily. “
“Every generation has created its own commotion as it has entered into the adult working world. And, every generation says the same things about other generations — “They don’t get it” or “They have it so much easier than we did.” Not every person in a generation will share all of the various characteristics with others in the same generation. However, these examples are indicative of general patterns in the relationships between and among family members, friends and people in the workplace.” Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees by Greg Hammill http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm
Take a look at the brief descriptions below of the characteristics of each generation; notice how very different they are. Get comfortable with them and apply them to your work, they may help ease some frustrations. For the complete article visit the link listed below. For a more contemporary approach there are many u-tube videos that will get you thinking as well. I’ve include one of my favorites Jason Dorsey, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aV36S7cW0
Traditional born 1922-45 Patriotism, Work is an obligation, Doing more with less, Task oriented, Respect for authority, Follow directions, Don’t like change, Education viewed as a dream
Baby Boomers 1946-64 Optimistic, Work is an exciting adventure, Exploration, Achievements, Individual choice, Community, Goal oriented, Seek collaboration, Avoid conflict, Education is viewed as a birthright
GenX 1965-1980 Latch key kids, Self-Reliant, Work is a difficult challenge or a contract, Require Feedback/Recognition, Seek balance between family and work, Comfortable with authority but not impressed with titles, Technically competent, Education is viewed as a means to get there.
GenY 1981-94, Seek advice and approval from parents and managers, Self-expression, Work is a means to an end, Crave change and challenges, Accept diversity, Prefer teamwork, Multi –taskers, Feel entitled, Seek balance of lifestyle and work, Education viewed as a huge expense.
Mixing and Managing Four Generations of Employees by Greg Hammill http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm