In the last few decades technology has changed the world of business rapidly and profoundly. This rate of change continues to accelerate. To overcome the widening gap in knowledge and to be able to collaborate more effectively, it is essential for members of different generations to understand each other in a spirit of teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect.
With their range of experiences, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials can often generate more useful and exciting ideas together. Cross-generational diversity and cross-collaboration can become a great organizational strength and lead to expanded creatvity and new solutions to solving challenges.
We’ve explored some of the cultural attitudes that make members of the Millennial generation unique and valuable coworkers. Today, we’ll share tips for Millennials who strive to work more effectively with seasoned teammates.
Respect Their Independence and Set Expectations
Members of Generation X, in particular, are often distinguished by a rebellious, skeptical, and iconoclastic spirit. They grew up mostly before the advent of smartphone communications and always-on social networking. Compared to Millennials, they tend to be motivated less by community and more by a sense of individuality, as do many Boomers.
“When working with an X-er, don’t be surprised or offended if they choose to work alone,” writes Mira Zaslove in Fortune . She adds, “X-ers tend to be hands-off, low face-time managers. So when working for an X-er, ask them to clearly define their expectations. When you do receive a compliment from an X-er, you’ve done a great job.”
Help Them Understand New Technologies and Trends
Many Millennial workers are digital natives, having had access to fast-paced technologies and the internet their entire lives. Thus, it may be difficult for them to appreciate how wondrous and strange these innovations can seem to those who did not always have them, or who witnessed their rapid proliferation firsthand from the 1980s through today.
When working with colleagues on new technology, “never say, ‘This is so easy,'” writes Ann Friedman of The Los Angeles Times . “Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently.”
It is important to appreciate how glorious our new technological breakthroughs really are. Demonstrating the utility of a new application or device to someone who doesn’t regularly use it may even renew your own sense of delight.
It All Comes Down to Communication
When communication is optimized, almost any group of people can come together to pursue shared goals. Working to achieve that understanding is how we mine the greatest value from our work and our lives.
Appreciating and working with our differences requires well-honed active listening skills, along with an appreciation for different learning styles and preferences in communication and collaboration.
When we respect our shared and individual goals and work together to continuously improve our company cultures, our differences make us much stronger through our diverstiy.
At Artisan Creative, our experience has shown us how great teams are built among individuals from all walks of life. Contact us today to take your career or your business to the next level.
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