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You Can Bridge Generation Gaps

Ever feel like you’ve spent hours trying to get Baby Boomers to relate to Gen Xers or vice versa? You’re not alone.

"The over-40 crowd wonders why the 25 year old wants to be promoted to manager during his first week of employment (and leave at 4:55 pm each day) while the under-30 group believes a more seasoned co-worker’s computer crashed simply because she’s old," hypothesizes corporate coach and consultant Garrison Wynne.

Opportunity: Any supervisor who can help close the chasm between these groups will wind up with a well-organized, productive team that excels at any challenge. Use this guide to build a bridge in your office.

1. Motivate With Praise. No matter your age, every employee enjoys hearing your praise as they work toward a goal. Young workers are particularly sensitive to positive encouragement because they were raised in a society and educational system that offered positive rewards.

Important: Younger workers need the immediate gratification of constant praise. Also, it’s unlikely that a 23-year-old employee will care about your five-year plans for her.

Action plan: Give your younger workers tight deadlines that allow them to receive some type of reward within a short time frame.

2. Find A Place For The "Old Way." Sure, work processes evolve over the years, creating more efficient ways to do the same tasks. But not every traditional method needs to be tossed in the trash -- and doing so will alienate your over-40 employees. Rather, find ways to incorporate traditional processes into your office’s workflow.

Action plan: Poll everyone in your office to determine which tasks should be automated or updated and which are fine as they are. Then work with your older staffers to test innovations so that you can be sure that everyone has the same level of understanding.

Takeaway: Foster team spirit by finding creative ways to showcase everyone’s skills and highlight why every employee’s contribution counts.


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