Managing multi-generational workforces is an art in itself. Young workers want to make a quick impact, the middle generation needs to believe in the mission,
and older employees don’t like ambivalence.– Eric J. McNully
Does your workplace consist of a blend of multi generations? Do the differences add synergy or perhaps increase conflict? Let’s break it down into 5 generations (as reported by Katrina Plourde):
- Silent Generation – born during the Great Depression and WWII (1925-1942)
- Baby Boomers (1943-1964)
- Generation X (1965-1976)
- Generation Y (1977-1994)
- Millennials (1994 – )The intent is not to label people, but rather share the perceptions of what each generation is known for.The Silent Generation was considered hard working, optimistic, accountable, financially savvy, and optimistic about the future.
Baby Boomers are considered to have strong workplace and family ideals and traditions, are relatively active, and uncertain what the future may hold.
Gen X folks are thought to live in the present, like to experiment, desire immediate results, and may question authority. They also may be selfish and cynical.
Gen Y / Millenials. Some consider these one and the same. Both are considered materialistic, selfish, and maybe even disrespectful. They are aware of the world, are technologically savvy, and may feel a sense of entitlement with high workplace expectations.
It’s not all flattering, and we know these are generalizations, but the work culture may be impacted. As leaders, do you view this as an opportunity so the strengths of each generation can be leveraged, or do you view it as a thorn, and not quite certain what (if anything) you need to do?
Consider if your team is truly a team or if it consists of a group of individuals with their own agenda. Do they have shared goals and do they work together to achieve them? Do they willingly share their skills and listen for the value others bring to the team? Can they be candid with one another and discus differences/conflict in a healthy manner?
Bottom line, what are you doing to create synergy within your multi generational workplace?
The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.—Lee Iacocca