Leading a Multigenerational Workplace

By Ross E. Rutman, Assistant Vice President – Habitational

What can we expect from the American generations currently in the US workforce? There is a serious problem in the workplace and it has nothing to do with the typical issues such as competition. In fact, the problem at hand is managing the different generations on your team. In order for a business to maximize effectiveness and efficiency, a strong leader should take the time to understand generational characteristics and learn how to implement his or her findings.

There have been a number of terms used to name the American generations over the years. Every time we blink, there seems to be a new term describing the younger generations. And you may have the four latest generations in your workplace: the Baby Boomers, Generation X (Gen X), Generation Y (Gen Y, also known as Millennials), and Generation Z (Gen Z). In addition to these four generations, we now have Generation C (Gen C) which is not actually an age group—it’s a mindset! Gen C is a new force in consumer culture. They are people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection, and community.

These generations have different views on many facets of life: core values, work ethics, families, education, money, and especially how they communicate.

Each generation has its own attributes and, of course, ISSUES! Don’t we all? No one is perfect. There once was a time when one generation led the other. Welcome to 2017, a new era, where the generations work alongside each other and work towards the same goals.

I know, I know. You’re asking yourself, how can we all work together when we are all so different? Especially when we know how some, if not all, of the generations struggle to even live with one another! The world we live in has drastically changed over the past several years and who knows what to expect as we move forward. In my opinion, as time goes on, more of the population will transition to Gen C. The next generation is on its way!

Let’s “combine forces” and “bridge the gap”!

How do we do that? Suppose we look at this from a new perspective: all American generations can be better together!

Step one in this vital journey is cracking the code of how you and your team operate. Are you a Gen X communicator while your right-hand colleague tends to hide behind his or her keyboard? In that case, a tool such as collaborative intra-office software may be the key to progress. If you are a Baby Boomer stuffed full of moral fiber and grit who has to show a team of Gen Y Millennials what work really looks like, then maybe out-of-office, team-building days are your best approach. Maybe you’re a Gen Y leader with a team full of Baby Boomers, and you are the one bringing technology and training in as a solution.

All of this is to say that without truly taking the time to understand the multiple generations on your team, you can’t develop strategies for them to work most efficiently. Be a leader and use your multigenerational team to your advantage! Collaborate with, and obtain a consensus from, your team. The resulting different ideas and skill sets can become a productive combination in ANY industry. Great business is based on the understanding of others.


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