Managing someone older than you: Finding a common ground for success!
Every generation believes their way of doing things is the “right way” and the younger generation’s way of doing things is the “wrong way.” There isn’t a right or wrong, but in many cases just different than what someone is used to doing. In today’s workplace where there are more millennials than boomers, there are fewer peers for the boomers to relate to and often are working for people younger than them.
This has presented some challenges for the older worker of not feeling as confident in their performance. The work styles and values of the younger worker are not always in sync with the older worker, which has an effect on productivity.
Instead of working with each other, they are working against and the younger manager wants things done their way.
Stephen Covey’s habit of “seek first to understand, than to be understood” is a good motto to start with in working together, not against each other.
The younger worker’s work style:
Less structured work day that has flexibility in work schedule
More apt to voice their opinions more freely without real concern for management level
Very adaptable to learning and using technology for efficiency
Prefers to communicate via email or text versus face to face
Being loyal does not mean a life time with one company
The older worker’s work style:
Consistent work hours and schedule
Cautious about expressing opinions
Limited in their use of technology
Prefers to communicate and resolve issues face to face
Understands it takes time to get promoted
A solution for the 2 generations working more effectively toward a common goal:
Be open to each other’s way of learning, performing and handling challenges
Be flexible , there is more than one way to accomplish something
Be patient and try to understand each others motivators to see the alignment
Finding the common ground will increase productivity, motivation and acceptance of older workers being managed by younger people!