Top 3 Challenges Between Work Generations

When you work with different individuals, there are always going to be challenges. It is the nature of everyone being an individual with varied experiences, upbringing, education and global events significant to them. As a manager, one of your goals is to communicate effectively with each team member even through challenges.

What does each generation think of the other?

We are not just speaking about young people versus older people. The age-old argument used to be that young people had no respect for their elders. And, older people had no sense of fun and suck all the joy out of life. Some of that still goes on, but the generational lines are not as clear cut.

Here is what you are basically dealing with. You have older people in the work force who are at retirement age, but can’t retire because of economic downturns that have occurred in the last decade. There are employees who are reaching middle age and caught up between raising their kids and taking care of their parents. You also have younger workers who want to rise to the top without crossing the same hurdles as their older counterparts. Finally, the youngest of the lot are going in for more unconventional jobs and more lax rules.

Generational Complaint 1: Work Ethic

One of the major complaints across generations concerns work ethic. Each generation things the subsequent one has no discernible work ethic. As a rule, most In-betweeners and Baby boomers valued a hard day’s work. They also feel that one-on-one conversations with leadership are a more respectful way to handle conflict.

In contrast, Generation Y gets the job done but takes a different path and also a different time frame to do the same job. They are not tied to strict order and method. They see that there is more than one way to handle a situation. To them it is more important to complete the task than to concentrate on the method.

Generational Complaint 2: Impatience

Baby boomers and In-betweeners are willing to stay loyal to a company even though they don’t experience a meteoric rise to the top of the career ladder. Younger generations don’t share the same outlook. Younger boomers and Generation X look for opportunities to move up and ahead and put in the work to get there. Generation Y is into immediate feedback and wants more right now. The key for them is to keep them engaged and even suggest career paths to focus their efforts.

Generational Complaint 3: Resistance to Change

No one wants to be accused of being obstinate on their job. Older generations like to share the benefit of their experience. It may come across as resistance when they express their opinions about trying something that, in their experience, didn’t work in the past. As for younger generations, they always feel they have the best ideas, even dismissing input from older team members because of age. In both cases, opportunities are missed to see each point of view and try something different.

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Deanna Maio February 10, 2017 Building & Leading Your Team