Generational differences, that is how most people label challenges associated with communication and working with others who have a significant difference in birth year from their own. Do you have a baby boomer boss that respects you?
Occasionally you might hear the words generational respect, but we very seldom hear words or phrases connected with the idea of generational commonalities. Discussion points, debates, or arguments typically open with the concept of differences.
If we think just for a minute about commonalities, one of the biggest things that all generations have in common is that they all want respect.
When we consider the idea of respect spread across all levels of authority or the organizational ladder it is something that most employees are interested to ensure exists. Respect in the workplace can certainly exist across any level or hierarchy and can sometimes be increasingly sensitive when working across multiple generations.
Many workplaces today have traditionals or baby boomers that might report to a gen X or millennial boss, but often it is more common that the more recent generations including gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) have a boss who is a baby boomer. So it might beg the question, does my baby boomer boss respect me?
Are You Respected?
Let’s consider a few areas that indicate respect.
- Listens well. Communication skills, especially listening are an important part of workplace harmony. We can probably attribute many of our workplace challenges, performance problems, or productivity issues to ineffective communication. If the conversations between you and your boss are well grounded in good listening skills or techniques, then you have a good foundation for mutual respect.
- Asks meaningful questions. In the workplace people are typically driving towards results. Critical thinking, solving problems, and especially asking questions not only produce a wider array of information but also contribute to focus. When co-workers are asking questions of their peer team or supervisors they most likely respect their opinion. The same is true from boss to direct report. Of course the type of question is also important, interrogation techniques do not apply here.
- Makes time. When you stop to think about it, everything in life revolves around time. If we lived forever nothing would really matter because there would always be more time. Being considerate and taking the time to engage with other people might be one of the biggest signs that you are valued and respected. A boss who has no time for direct reports probably could improve their boss to direct report relationships significantly by making an investment in each other’s time.
Baby Boomer Boss
When we broadly consider the distribution of generations in today’s workforce and we consider those who represent any level of supervisor, baby boomers (who are supervisors) have a significant representation.
So what do you think, does your baby boomer boss respect you?
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.