3 Skills Boomers Need To Stay Competitive

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3 Skills Boomers Need To Stay Competitive

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It is in the news every day. Millennials this and boomers that, millennials are quitting, and boomers need retirement money. Millennials are on their phones, and boomers won’t change. Human resource professionals grow tired of the complaints and the revolving door. While we single handedly won’t solve all of society’s issues overnight, we can take steps to realize the root causes of some of our worst problems and create a path to ease our pain.


Boomers are looking for jobs (and job security) just as the millennials are, and let us not forget traditionals, generation X, and generation 9/11 people. Boomers still represent a large portion of our active workforce, and while large numbers are retiring others are trying to solidify their presence.

Here are three skills that every boomer should be sure they master:

1. Illustrate. Saying is not doing, and being able to talk about issues and taking action are certainly two different things. Boomers need to illustrate that they are eager to learn, that they have empathy, and that they work towards commonalities not just express differences and expect conformity.

2. Listen. One of the most talked about, but often not heard, is the importance of good listening skills. This includes things such as, think before you speak, be curious of the perspective of others, and be patient while seeking to understand.

3. Change. Change surrounds us and it isn’t centered on any generation. While it may be natural to feel some fear when the unexpected occurs all generations need to learn to expect change. Workplace survival may depend on every person being willing to break a tradition, approach something different with an open mind and less resistance, and of course, be willing to embrace new technologies.

If you’ve read this carefully you will probably quickly recognize that there are far more than just three skills to consider. However, when we package them into three specific areas it may help to make practicing to be more competitive, easier.

Are you competitive?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Lois Wingerson

October 16, 2015at 2:26 pm

I’d add a fourth: Be confident! It’s all too easy for boomers in the workplace to feel out of place. For years, even though I was an early adopter of new technology and highly skilled, I was worried about being passed over and dismissed as “too old” as I saw my coworkers seemingly grow younger by the day. When I finally decided to let my hair return to its natural color and began sharing some of my hard-earned experience at meetings, rather than sitting back, I began to win credibility and to be regarded as a mentor. I also began to get raises.


    October 17, 2015at 12:35 pm

    Fantastic point! It’s great that you stepped out of your comfort zone and recognized the positive impacts. Thanks for posting!

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