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.

The Importance Of Effectively Improving Your Communication Skills

Leaders receive a multitude of information on a daily basis. They make hard decisions every day and expect that their employees will directly understand and precisely apply them.

Decisions become erroneous when leader fail to listen. The execution process falls short when leaders fail to communicate and clarify their vision. Subsequently, they also fail to solve problems and reach their goals.

Wondering how to hone your communication skills and create a better working environment? 

The Importance Of Effectively Improving Your Communication Skills

What is communication?

Communication is a complex and dynamic process, used to collect information. It is also a form of human interaction that always involves at least 2 people, that depends on the character of the people involved and that relies on trust.

While communicating, we receive and/or emit information through silence, facial expressions, writing, reading, talking or listening. We use these skills practically everywhere at work, for every situations.

In addition, a noisy environment, stereotypes, cultural differences, lexical differences, company culture are barriers to communication. These barriers distort what is being said and what is being received. However, being aware if them is the first step to reprogramming communication.

Why is it important?

Communication skill is the ability to effectively interact with people to influence, to convince, to mobilize people towards one goal, to unify teams.

Developing communication skills will bring success at every level, help convey a better understanding of your standards and requirements, build positive healthy relationships, avoid or work through conflicts.

Great communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level. They will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Furthermore, poor communication skills can prevent you from understanding your coworkers, getting hired or getting promoted, saving time or sharing request in meetings. communication failure leads to resentment.

How to improve your communication skills?

At work, some people struggle to share their thoughts, ideas. To improve your communication skills and get ahead at work:

  1. Be self-aware and stay authentic to your principles.
  2. Demonstrate empathy. Empathy will allow you to reach people, to perceive their feelings and perspectives, to build a team that you understand. For example, start by learning your employee’s name to show that you care.
  3. Demonstrate that you can be trusted by keeping secrets, by following through on promises and commitments, by being consistent, and by not withholding useful information
  4. Even though you don’t believe it, you are a brand and must treat yourself as such. You must learn to present, to market yourself, to quantify and value your assets.
  5. Find a purpose for every interaction. Your purpose gives your communication direction.
  6. Remember that everyone is different and won’t communicate the way you do.
  7. Always think win-win. According to Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, it is better to seek mutual benefits in all human interactions, believe that life is a cooperation and not a competition.
  8. Understand the corporate culture to adapt your communication style. Your communication style will influence the way others react to you. Numerous communication styles have been developed throughout the years and most often, have been equated to leadership style. Needless to say, everyone doesn’t communicate the same way.
  9. Bear in mind that appearances are important, even detrimental to success. Maintain professional decorum at all times, dress appropriately, groom yourself, be hygienic, keep your composure according to the company’s culture.
  10. Take care of your own body language by standing straight, by eliminating over the top behavior, standing still, staying focused on your interlocutor, maintaining eye contact and restraining your facial expression.
  11. Actively listen and speak less. While listening, monitor body language, evaluate the emotional intensity of the conversation, stay open-minded, and choose your words carefully not to offend. This also means that you don’t need to emit judgement during the process, that you must avoid listening to reply or to seek ulterior motives in someone, and that you must allow people to talk without interruption, even if I disagree with them.
  12. When writing and speaking, keep it succinct, specific, clear, coherent and compelling for others. Avoid using ambiguous words.
  13. Treat people as you want to be treated. Stay polite and treat people with the respect that they deserve and with regards to their culture.
  14. Have an open door policy and be approachable.
  15. Analyze your audience. Take time and analyze the full situation and pay attention to non verbal communication.
  16. When in conversation, observe what is being said and paraphrase to confirm that you have properly understood, ask probing questions to get all the information and avoid daydreaming, tuning out or jumping to conclusions. If nervous, introverted or shy, practice your conversations before.
  17. Avoid using stereotypes to categorize someone or the info that they share.
  18. Use humor to defuse negative situations to elevate any subject, to put your audience at ease. Using humor is risky but is worth-while.
  19. Reward positive behavior and hold people accountable for negative behavior.

Last Words Of Advice!

To effectively improve communication, there are also a few unspoken rules to follow. One must avoid:

  • Discounting information on the account of discrediting the source.
  • Comparing the information you are getting with your own experience.
  • Calling attention to yourself or your situation.
  • Gossiping, openly criticizing or making fun of others and their interests. Find solutions and help resolve problem instead of creating them.
  • Noisy environment to have conversations.
  • Respect silence. Silence is golden in some cultures.
  1. Finally, don’t take anything personal.

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.

The Importance of Great Leadership

The Importance of Great LeadershipWhether it’s originated in our History or Culture, whether it’s from watching television or from frequenting our friends and family, we all have a clear picture in our minds of what great leadership is or should be.

We also have in mind which competencies and qualities are ideally associated to great leadership.

Wondering if that picture you nurture in your mind coincides with reality and what makes leadership so important?

What is great leadership?

Leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

Influence allows leaders to gain consistent support for their views and opinions while building relationships with other individuals, groups or organization on a daily basis. It also helps leaders improve teamwork, and gain more credibility, and respect.

Furthermore, influence is used to win others over, to persuade and convince  without having to subject anyone to manipulation, force, command or control. It consists in a core competency in today’s workplace.

Why is leadership important?

Not everyone is a leader. Not everyone is given an opportunity to lead or not everyone has made the conscious decision to lead. Not everyone wants to be a leader because leadership requires time, knowledge, skills and emotional intelligence.

Some people are actually leaders but not in all aspects of their lives. At last, others leaders emerge later in life.

Moreover, the importance for leadership and the motivation for leadership go hand in hand.

Everybody is motivated differently by leadership: you can be motivated by a search for prestige, status, respect, deference, money, power, an increase in power of decision, a will to make the world a better place by servicing others, a strong desire to embody a vision and to bring that vision into reality.

In addition, without great leadership, chaos flares up.

The key competencies for great leadership

Leadership competenciesI believe that the nine competencies below are the foundation of great contemporaneous leadership:

  1. Demonstrating integrity and instilling trust in employees. Leaders must be capable of being responsible and accountable, of becoming an exemplar of wanted behaviors and values, treating others with respect, of doing the right thing, of walking the walk and walking the talk. According to Warren Bennis, “there is no difference between becoming an effective leader and becoming a fully integrated human being”.
  2. Learning continuously to be able to deal with personal and organizational complexities, to grow and become more effective, and finally to challenge the status quo.
  3. Share vision to inspire has purpose. A vision is what you want to create, to embody and achieve as a leader. The leader’s vision has everything to do with his or her purpose and is often reflected in his or her behavior.
  4. Thinking and acting innovation. Remarkable leaders know how to champion, plan and implement change successfully. .
  5. Possessing good decision-making skills. Leaders are able to identify problems and find solutions, and measure the outcome of those solutions.
  6. Maintaining strong communication skills. Leaders must be good speakers as well as good and active listeners. Communication skills increase the leader’s influence in the workplace. The best way to showcase your communication skills is to:
    • delay your speech, analyze your audience by getting to know their background, situation, history, values, enhance your rhetoric and work on the delivery of your speech.
    • describe the situation you want to change, its impacts and its solutions.
    • ask for other people input by professional courtesy and be open for discussion.
  7. Developing emotional intelligence. Exceptional leaders get to know themselves before getting to know others, lead themselves before leading others, use their emotions at work but don’t let their emotions use them.
  8. Building healthy relationships and connecting with your followers. Indeed, outstanding leaders hold your employees to a higher standard, with higher expectations with the belief that their employees can meet them. They also provide feedback, invest in their employees personal strengths, value collaboration and team work in order to connect to your workforce.
  9. Developing others by mentoring and coaching them in order to sustain high performance employees, to train them for leadership positions and to strengthen employees weaknesses and to help “difficult” employees to fit into the corporate culture. A great leader is a catalyst, facilitator that allow each member of the team to shine. By then, employees commitment and productivity will be increased. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie (2009) said it right in Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: “Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the here and now – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone.”.

The skills of leaders are transferable to every aspect or role of their lives: they are applicable to their community, neighborhood.

Acquiring all those skills all at once are not realistic: a leader must assess his or her strengths and weaknesses to know which competencies he or she already possess and which competencies to develop first.

Are you currently viewed as a potential leader?

You are viewed as a potential leader if:

  • people regularly come to you for advice, for brainstorming or problem solving,
  • you are progressively given more responsibility on a project by your boss,
  • your boss asks for your opinion on a subject matter before an “above your pay grade” meeting
  • or you are included in your coworkers social activities.

If you are not being perceived as a leader, start with these small steps:

  • Respect the company’s culture, work protocols and procedures and perform well.
  • Offer your help when there is extra work to do in the office. This will show that you are ready to roll up your sleeves for the success of the project, to apply yourself effectively without complaining.
  • Volunteer outside of work. This will allow you to test your leadership skills, to inquire whether leadership is made for you or not, to learn new skills and mostly to make mistakes with less consequence to your career.
  • Read or write articles about leadership development and take courses to increase your knowledge about leadership.
  • Cultivate your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses.

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.