Employees representing different generations often do not agree on many subjects and ideologies. However, occasionally, individuals of varying ages need to work in conjunction to perform certain tasks or complete specific projects. Leading a team of persons comprised of the old, young and middle-aged can prove challenging. However, the task might be easier provided the leader adheres to the following suggestions:
Do Not Assume
Executives overseeing multigenerational employees are strongly cautioned to avoid rendering preconceived assumptions. Age differences amongst employees does not guarantee that staff members are incapable of working together. Leaders should allow relationships to develop and execute adjustments when circumstances warrant.
Effective employers of multigenerational staffs will encourage the embracement of differences. Employees, like people in general, are different. Reputable leaders realize that the differences people possess can prove valuable in any number of ways. Effective executives will also convince staff members to accept each other’s differences for the good of the team.
Establish Common Ground
Everyone possess differences and similarities. Unfortunately, however, the discrepancies are typically the viewpoints that garner the most attention. Successful multigenerational team leaders will instead focus on establishing common ground. There is a good chance that all employees share similar aims such as the desire to perform well, reaching specific goals, being part of a successful team and advancing in their careers. Executives who foster an environment where these commonalities are stressed stand a greater possibility of helping individuals of varying ages see past their differences and demonstrate a willingness to work together.
It is understandable that frustration and confusion might develop amongst groups comprising different ages and other backgrounds. That said, effective leaders will foster an environment where communication is encouraged. In many instances, providing employees a forum to voice their concerns brings festering issues to the forefront but also increases the possibility of identifying viable solutions to such issues. On a simpler scale, communication is often the first step to forging relationships, especially amongst people with differing backgrounds.
Respect The Contributions Of All Parties
Many people, successful leaders included, might fall into the trap of valuing one employee’s contributions over another. For example, an older superior might trust the word and opinion of seasoned employees more than younger staff members. Such actions could precipitate resentment and greater divide. This potentially harmful pitfall can be avoided by valuing everyone’s contributions.