Bridging The Generational Gap: From Boomers to Millennials

In today’s workplace, leaders of organizations must hire millennials and boomers to keep business running. For the sake of their organization, leaders must have them collaborating, handling constructive conflicts and effectively dealing with change.

However, conflicts in the workplace, involving different generations, are old as time, are common, are inevitable and ought to be handled quickly before they get out of hand.

Conflicts usually arise when one generation is leading or managing another. These days, boomers are passed over for promotions, millennials are put in leadership roles and tend to manage boomers because they have a researched set of skills that are beneficial to the company.

Bridging the generational gap helps in making better decisions, reducing employee turnover, strengthening team cohesion and in building innovative products.

Wondering how to bridge the generation gap and build a more collaborative workplace?

Bridging The Generational Gap: From Boomers to Millennials

A generation is a period of time when people perceived the world differently. In one generation, people are shaped by social trends, are programmed with thoughts, values, moral ethics, models, examples of success and the guidelines to succeed.

Three generations rub shoulders in corporate: the baby-boomers (1946-1964), the generation X (1965-1980) and the millennials (1980-2000). Needless to say, each generation has their own set of strengths, weaknesses and of requirements in order to give their best at work.

The Baby-Boomers Generation

Boomers are the most famous generation and have a different set of values. They trust the system, understand hierarchy, follow rules and obey orders.

They believe in seniority and meritocracy. Indeed, they stay at a job for the longest time and wait for an opportunity for advancement.

Strengths

Employees from the baby-boomer generation:

  • Define their identity through their jobs.
  • Have a strong work ethic. They are hardworking even workaholics.
  • Are concerned about the quality of their contributions at work.
  • Are loyal to their organization and expect loyalty in return.
  • Have good people skills and build healthy relationships.
  • Are capable of team work.

Weaknesses

Employees from the baby-boomer generation:

  • Respect hierarchy and don’t challenge the status quo.
  • Depend on seniority for career advancement.
  • Unable to welcome change. They don’t understand that the world is changing and are unable to quickly evolve with it.
  • Have a poor work life balance. They are not flexible with their time, burn out easily and are willing to sacrifice their work life balance.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, employees from the baby-boomer generation require:

  • Appreciation, respect, fairness and equity of treatment.
  • Involvement on the job.
  • Job satisfaction.
  • Health care and retirement package.

The Generation X

This generation no longer trust the system and believe that corporations don’t have their best interest at heart.

Strengths

Employees from the generation X:

  • Are innovative and creative.
  • Are authentic. They feel the need to know and be themselves in every situation.
  • Are autonomous, independent, loyal to self and self-reliant.
  • Are flexible, task oriented and multi-taskers.
  • Take initiative and have an entrepreneurial spirit.

Weaknesses

Employees from the generation X:

  • Lack clear purpose.
  • Are insubordinate. They no longer comply to authority and are defiant.
  • Are easily bored. They need to be kept on challenging or high-profile projects.
  • Are individualistic. They put themselves and the well-being of their family first.
  • Lack commitment to an organization.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, employees from the generation X require:

  • Automatic respect.
  • That their leaders apply a laissez-faire or a democratic leadership style.
  • Short termed challenging projects.
  • To understand the reasons of a task before undertaking said task.
  • A healthy work life balance: they put family first, no matter what.
  • Unique, fun and informal organization with flexible hours.
  • Career advancement or a constant interest in their assignment. If they don’t get what they want or need, they jump ship.
  • High salaries and rewards proportional to their contributions at work.

The Millennials

Millennials are idealist and have a more democratic way of viewing the world. They intend to make work fun and purposeful, to innovate and to invest themselves.

They have high expectations for their jobs, are now able to blow the whistle easily, seek fairness and integrity in their leaders.

Strengths

Millennial employees:

  • Have an ability to connect with the world and to quickly share information.
  • Use online communication effectively.
  • Are positive and are culturally sensitive.
  • Are ambitious, innovative and drive change.
  • Seek learning opportunities and desire accomplishments.
  • Have a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Are capable of team work.

Weaknesses

Millennial employees:

  • Lack interpersonal skills.
  • Have poor decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Need constant guidance and feedback.

Requirements

To perform to the best of their abilities, millennial employees require:

Bridging the generational gap

The collaboration of generations is essential to develop any organization. To bridge the generational gap and to retain more employees:

  1. Get to know your employees personally.
  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your employees.
  3. Customize your leadership style to your employees.
  4. Keep a respectful tone, stay professional and use formal language, especially with boomers.
  5. Give people a reason to work for your organization.
  6. Transfer knowledge between generations.
  7. Put people in the right positions.
  8. Remind all parties involved that they have more commonalities than differences.
  9. Disintegrate stereotypes about people from different generations. For example, boomers can learn how to handle technology and millennials are not lazy.
  10. Promote the benefits of diversity and cultural sensitivity.
  11. Adapt your employees working hours to the organization and exemplify a healthy work life balance.
  12. Help people gain new skills by putting them on different projects.
  13. Upgrade your employees interpersonal skills.
  14. Provide technological trainings.
  15. Suggest mentoring program.
  16. Recognize and reward your employees for their contributions.
  17. Give positive feedback, especially to millennials.
  18. Have an open door policy to hear employee complaints and ideas.
  19. Set high expectations for your employees and expect the best from them.
  20. Welcome initiative, innovation and creativity.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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About journeytoleadershipblog

I started this blog to improve my leadership skills, to retain and share the tips that I use on a daily basis in the workplace. I also review books that are essential to leadership development.
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One Response to Bridging The Generational Gap: From Boomers to Millennials

  1. Pingback: Building An Impactful Mentorship Relationship | Journey To Leadership

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