Many believe the generations are to blame. Some are convinced that cross-generational workplace communication simply does not happen. Still others believe that when people stop trying to change things and adapt to the tried and trusted method everything will work out for the best.
If you listen you can’t miss it in the news, millennials this and boomers that, millennials want it all, and boomers just want to retire without any more change or hassle. However, generational differences are not the root cause, they are simply just a symptom. Here are three important guidelines to help reach across generational frameworks:
- More communication is not necessarily better communication. While every generation might occasionally feel that insufficient or not the right communication is occurring, it is the quality and not the quantity or volume that sets good communication apart from bad.
- Trust is always a factor in every workplace generation; that means it is a commonality. Perhaps nothing affects communication more than trust does. It takes time to build it; be patient, and don’t underestimate its value.
- Each generation has its own unique framework and will listen and communicate through filters. Don’t try to change someone else; change the way you respond and interact to make your communication clearer.
When we focus on differences, we’ll get just that, differences. Focus on commonalities, reach across to a generation different from your own, and keep in mind success will come from a focus on how a generation different from your own wants to be treated. We are often taught to treat others the way we would want to be treated. That isn’t the secret formula for reaching across the generations. The secret formula is to treat each generation the way they want to be treated.
There is a difference, it is sometimes called, respect.
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.