In today’s podcast, Lindsey Pollak from Lindsey Pollak – Career & Workplace Expert and Stephen Halasnik from Financial Solutions discuss how small business owners can lead and succeed in a multigenerational workplace. Today’s workforce comprises multiple generations. And each has different habits, communication styles, and perspectives. As a business owner, implementing the strategies that foster a multigenerational workplace will help bolster your business goals. In other words, you should understand the generational differences in your workplace and manage those differences effectively in order to succeed in business.
How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace
In today’s workplace, 95% of the workforce is made up of three distinctly different generations. Knowing how to lead this divergent set of people in the work environment is critical for the success of your business. Great leaders are wary of the inherent differences that exist among their employees and employ the best management strategies that work for every generation of their workers.
What is a Multigenerational Workplace?
As variety is the spice of life, so is the multigenerational workforce is the beauty of every workplace. A multigenerational workplace is a work environment that is made of a workforce that is from different generations, including
- The baby boomer generation,
- Generation X,
- Millennial generation
A multigenerational workplace helps in the cross-fertilization of ideas across the varying generations.
There’s no question that a 60-year-old employee will certainly have different concerns, priorities, values, and beliefs than their 20-year-old teammate, and as a result, conflict is bound to occur. However, knowing these existential dissimilarities can help you lead and manage your multigenerational workplace effectively.
How to Adapt your Leadership to a Multigenerational Workplace
The primary objective of every business leader is to build a workplace that supports employees irrespective of their ages. There are differences in the behavioral traits of each generation in your work environment, and a good understanding of the uniqueness of each generation can help you in managing your workplace. Plus, savvy business leaders know that people are unique and behave differently, no matter the generation they belong to. As a result, the best leadership strategies for managing a multigenerational workforce are the same strategies for managing people in general.
Below are the strategies to help you adapt your leadership to a multigenerational workplace.
Identify the Best Leadership that Resonates with Each Generation
Employees across different generations may have varying views on leadership. And what a smart leader should do is know how to approach each of the generations individually and in a team. In other words, you must be adept in your leadership style to get the most out of your employees and build a business that thrives. For example, Baby boomers believe that leadership should be consensual and collegial, while Generation X’s view on leadership is equality and competence. Millennials, on the other hand, perceive a leader to be an achiever, a coach, and a mentor.
Most importantly, discuss with your employees to learn their views on leadership and make some adjustments when necessary to better support your employees.
Be Flexible in Your Leadership Style
Managing a multigenerational workplace can be challenging. But, you can bring out the best from the multigenerational workforce by being flexible in the way you conduct the management of your business. You should know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to solving problems. Since the generations that comprise your organization come to work with different expectations, assumptions, priorities, and approaches to work and communication, your methods of doing things should cut across every generation within your company.
With a flexible leadership style, you can create opportunities for collaboration and synergies among the generations of workers, thereby giving your business a competitive edge.
Below are the important tips for managing your multigenerational workplace.
- Be open about different generations
- Understand what makes each generation unique
- Leverage the strength of each generation
- Support the values of each generation.
Coach Your employees
Providing learning and development opportunities can have a great impact on improving the productivity of your employees and reducing turnover. Fostering a friendly multigenerational workplace demands you help your employees discover their potential through coaching. Employee training programs help optimize the employees’ skills to align with the constant changes in your industry. These training programs help them learn work ethic, human relations, and more.
In addition, training your employees make them feel valued. In other words, they will not only become better workers but also be more productive members of the organization. And this will, in turn, improve their morale and workplace capacity.
How a Multigenerational Workplace Can Avoid Conflict
There is no doubt that the merging of the different generations in the workplace can create conflict. Most of the conflicts come up as a result of differences in values. So, knowing how you can manage this diverse group with their conflicting work ethics, different values, and mannerism is key to avoiding workplace conflict.
Below are some key considerations that will help build a conducive multigenerational work environment.
Generational differences don’t have to polarize workers. It’s essential you engage your workers in collaborative projects. This helps build unity and mutual interactions and gives them the opportunities to solve problems collectively. In addition, bring your workforce of varying generations together for a team-build exercise. This will help break down some of the generational barriers that can occur down the line.
Streamline Communication Among the Generations
When you have multiple generations working side-by-side, communication problem is bound to occur. Many factors can affect how a person communicates, including age. Communication gaps can harm relations in the workplace, leading to employee turnover. It’s important you make your employees understand the differing expectations and differences that may exist between generations. This knowledge will help them to adapt their communication style appropriately when dealing with older or younger colleagues.
Create a Workplace that Avoids Bias
One unavoidable truth about the multigenerational workplace is the issue of stereotypes. Every generation has a stereotype for the generation that came before and after it. These stereotypes influence perception or information coming from an individual that’s not a member of a specific generation. However, you can help these situations actively by making sure that older employees are not dismissing input from the younger ones and vice visa.
About Our Guest
Lindsey Pollak is a New York Times bestselling author and a leading career and workplace expert. She is the author of four career and workplace advice books including her latest, Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work. Her speaking audiences and consulting clients have included more than 250 corporations, law firms, conferences, and universities. For six years she served as an official ambassador for LinkedIn, and her advice and opinions have appeared in such media outlets as The TODAY Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and NPR. Lindsey is a graduate of Yale University and is based in New York City.
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