“Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
Four generations are currently represented in the workforce: Traditionalists, Baby-Boomers, Xers and Millennials. Each generation comes from different backgrounds and with different sets of experiences, which have shaped their perceptions, and consequently their outward actions. What I have found is there is often miscommunication due to the different perceptions, life priorities and frames of reference held by each generation.
Because of this, women report multiple issues arising when the four generations work together, whether in vocation, church or home. Older generations feel the younger ones can seem entitled and lack respect for “paying dues.” Younger generations often see the older generations as intolerant of new ideas and unwilling to share leadership.
No wonder we have trouble getting along! Organizations are faced with the struggle to appropriately include all generations in leadership, decision-making, strategy and innovation. How can we move to a place of not just tolerating each generation but actually maximizing the offerings of each generation for the kingdom of God?
Let me offer several key points based on "Mission: Momentum’s" webinar and included in my book, 3G Mentoring.
When you can learn about each generation and understand how and why people think and act the way they do, you can move from irritation to appreciation and respect, from complaining to championing. Appreciating each other leads to greater productivity. It is critical to empower and encourage each generation to contribute what only they can.
Key strategies include:
- Promote a learning culture where people are approached with a genuine sense of curiosity instead of judgment.
- Support clear open and authentic communication.
- Help each individual find a path for their individual contributions and place for leadership.
- Equip people to find flexibility but with accountability.
- Encourage passion and vision as a connecting point.
As for me—I find these principles work in my vocation, in my community and surprise-surprise!—in my family, the land where so many generational realities hit extremely close to “home!”
Written by Dr. Liz Selzer
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