"How do I make my multi-generational teams mesh and become brilliantly productive?"
While there are certain steps you can take and books you can read divulging the seemingly all-powerful truth to this question, we find it harder now, more than ever, with vastly different generational mindsets. That being said, no, there isn't a simple one-size–fits-all solution to multi-generational teams. Rather, what if we dissect each generation's mentality and strategize about how to communicate with each group, allowing them to communicate internally with one another? If you can lasso the strengths of each generation and enable effective communication between these groups, your multi-generational teams will be unstoppable.
Multi-Generational Teams Broken Down
Essentially, the workforce consists of four different generational groups: Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X, and the infamous Millennials.
Traditionalists value hard work on top of everything. While seemingly inflexible, Traditionalists base decision on vast experience, often confused with inflexibility. The value of respect for authority is another high priority item.
Boomers feel a deep sense of desired value and need that Boomers derive from work. They are loyal but disengage with the lack of recognition or acknowledgement. Respect is still highly valued in the eyes of Boomers.
Gen X is quite pragmatic and skeptical of authority. Often referred to as the silent generation, they are easily disengaged, pessimistic, and quick to toss in the towel if their contributions are unvalued or they feel gipped. This group desires space and their own terms to trust authority.
Millennials demand immediate gratification. Immediate ladder climbing is almost a birthright. They questions everything and feel a sense of right to be included, looked up to, and heard, regardless of the topic of conversation. Work ethic is often some term not fully comprehended by this generation.
With such radical differences, as employers, how do you reach each group simultaneously?
There is Hope for Multi-Generational Teams
Here are a couple of solutions:
- Acknowledge the commonalities that we all share. We all desire to be needed, to learn, to grow and move forward, and to receive feedback. We desire these things frequently, so often addressing these needs will go far with each generation.
- Use each group's strength to bond the team. Use Boomers optimism to rally the support. Use a healthy dose of skepticism from Gen X to question ideas and new products, and so on. Each group has valuable mentalities that should be brought to the table in any brainstorming, strategizing, or planning sessions. In doing this, there is value that each generation feels and appreciates.
We are all different, but as an employer, it's important to recognize the similarities and strengths of each generation in order to fulfill their needs and provide a place where each generation is valued and can work together. This may require time, energy, and a few tries, but the rewards of functioning multi-generational teams is well worth the organizational changes you may have to make. So, will you risk change to achieve optimal performance? I think we know what the answer is…
Source: Forbes Leadership