Nearly everyone knows that not all conflict is bad. In fact, in some cases conflict may be necessary or even helpful with things like change and innovation. Conflict is a natural part of working with other people regardless of your generation. In fact, there is often a significant amount of conflict when working with others who are in the same generation.
Can you build a case for the idea that conflict is worse when working across the generations? You probably can, but what may be most important is reminding ourselves and our colleagues, regardless of generational representation, that to keep conflict from becoming harmful it needs to be properly managed. Consider the following positive actions:
- Avoidance is as problematic as being too aggressive. Ask questions of others to gain understanding of specific interests or to clarify positions. Think collaboration.
- Conflict doesn’t know generational boundaries. Conflict is typical for groups of any generation; all generations have this in common. Focus on commonalities.
- Different doesn’t mean better or worse. In conflict, a different idea is often managed as the wrong idea. The common ground should be inclusion not exclusion. Build on others’ ideas to create synergy.
When we strive to address concerns based on the root cause and when we learn to look for commonalities instead of differences we can make our workplace communication more effective, our contributions more productive, and improve employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Effective, productive, and engaged, your team will improve the bottom line!
Originally posted on November 24, 2015, last updated on April 11, 2019.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.