Throughout my blogging on leadership, I continue to focus on understanding better ways for the four generations to collaborate more effectively in the workplace. Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, GenX’ers and Millennials all have talented leadership, even if the leaders have different strengths and viewpoints. A vivid description of the unique generational leadership styles appeared in a recent article in Advance for Nurses. Healthcare is an industry that has experienced multi-generational collisions for many years because so many Baby Boomers are postponing retirement. Having respect and appreciation for each generation holds the key to building relationships and teamwork in the work environment. So how can these diverse generational leaders value one another and collaborate effectively?
- Look for the talent in each generation: No matter the generation, each of us has gifts to bring to the workplace. Whether we have strong technological skills like the Millennials or GenX or seasoned institutional wisdom like the Traditionalists or Baby Boomers, there is a tremendous amount to learn from one another. A great leader can size up these generational strengths and encourage each generation to play to their talents. How might that look? Millennials grew up with cooperative learning and have a great comfort level working in teams, while GenX was raised with independence and prefer working on projects individually. Leaders can integrate both work styles by encouraging more team efforts for Millennials and more independent work for GenX.
- Empower each generation of leaders to share their values: Create an Awareness Program where characteristics and values from each generation are shared. Spend time with the multi-generational team members getting better acquainted on what makes each generation “tick”. Presenting the different work styles, communication preferences and vision about being on a team can be so helpful in preventing conflict and collision. Even ask the question: What do you need from me to help you get your job done? The answers may be the missing pieces in building a high performing team.
- Find leaders for each generation: With the fast pace of change in all organizations today, it is essential that leadership is encouraged and discovered at all levels. Because each generation brings different talents to leadership, team leaders might want to institute mentorship or coaching relationships to develop each person. This can be done by pairing up team members of different generations or utilizing small groups to work on skills and knowledge acquisition to cultivate stronger leadership. Millennials are very open to coaching and mentoring and thrive on learning new things. This generation also prefers lots of feedback, wanting to adjust and improve along the way. Keep in mind that the Millennial generation will be moving into leadership roles rapidly as Traditionalists and Baby Boomers exit their organizations.
Now is the time for leaders to find ways to have all four generations collaborate. Leverage each of the generation’s strengths and talents. Spearhead an understanding of the values that each generation brings to the work place. Discover and cultivate future leadership. Don’t miss out on this great and timely opportunity to unify your team!
How have you connected the different generations? Please share your success stories with us.