“They act so entitled. ” “They’re so set in their ways.” Have you heard or perhaps said some of these statements about people in your workplace who are either older or younger then you? One of the biggest sources of stress at work is communication (or lack of it!) As our world changes so will the workplace. More and more Boomers are choosing not to retire. In fact a recent AARP study reported that over 60% of Boomers say that they plan to work during their retirement years. Whether it’s because they are healthy and full of energy or whether they just can’t afford to retire the result is the same… older people staying in the workforce.
As college graduates enter the work place you have the contrast of the very young and the more mature worker in one work environment. The companies and individuals who learn to work well together are the ones that will thrive. What it comes down to is respect and acknowledgements of the strengths of both groups.
As older workers remain in the workforce they bring their years of experience and often an ability to see the big picture. Many long for the opportunity to mentor and lead.
The young worker brings with them the strength of innovation, fresh ideas and high energy.
How exciting to have the opportunity to learn to work together in a new and vibrant way. So instead of
critizing each other and focusing on the challenges of working together, it’s time to embrace the idea of becoming a team. Will it be easy? Maybe and maybe not but learning to communicate across the generations will not only serve the business but also our world.
Here’s a few steps to help you communicate better at work and reduce the stress…
1. As Stephen Covey always said, “Seek first to understand.” Take the time to really listen. Ask clarifying questions before you jump in with an opinion.
2. Understand when you are just brainstorming. During brainstorming allow the ideas to just flow rather then picking them apart.
3. Focus on the strengths of the people you work with. Acknowledge them often. People long for recognition whether young or old!
4. Know your own strengths and play to them.
What an exciting and changing world we live in. Not only are we required to connect globally but also intergenerationally. Those of us who choose to learn excel at connection and communication will thrive and have richer lives for it.
Have an amazing Monday!
Leanna Fredrich, Mindset Coach