Managing People from Different Generations

John: 35, two children, married, indebted because of his new house, wants stability, social media friendly, Millennials

Mary: 59, 3 children, grandmother, retirement in 4 years, baby boomers.

Leo: 24, freshly graduated, single, wants challenges, likes flexibility, born with Internet, Generation Z.

Today managers are facing challenges by managing people from different generations. Values, standards, ways of working are changing each generation: Leo likes to use instant chat app to communication while Mary prefers to walk to talk face to face to ask questions. Each generation speaks his own language, has his own ways. Communication in the workplace is truly a challenge especially for young or old managers. “It is important to be aware of generational tension-defined as a lack of respect for someone who’s of a different generation from you- among colleagues” says Jeanne C.Meister, a founding partner of Future Workplace.

However, studies show the main criteria is more about age differences. Indeed, Leo is a fresh employee and graduated student, he may have more motivation and looking for challenges, stability and routine can be boring. On the contrary, John has a wife, 2 children, a house to pay; he is looking for money and stability. Different priorities on different stages of life. When Mary had 24, priorities were quite the same, just ways of working were slightly different.

Actually, the easier way to increase the management effectiveness is to learn who are your employees. By knowing employees’ values, life situation, priorities, career motivation and path, a manager can tailor and improve his management practices and cope with age and generation differences. Ways to learn your team are surveys, questionnaire, chatting, or organizing team buildings.

Finally, employees can learn from each other by organizing cross-generational mentoring to improve business communication skills. You can create a dedicated time during which younger people learn from elder and vice-versa. Seniors can learn the power of social media and new ways of communication meanwhile junior learn from more experienced employees who share institutional knowledge. Key words: Millennials, Generation Z, Communication In The Workplace, business communication skills, management practices, generation differences, cross-generational mentoring.

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