Take a look at your employees and you’ll likely see four generations with four very different mindsets and values, creating the potential for misunderstandings. With various generations come different attitudes that shape how, where and when we work, says Cheryl Cran, a workplace growth expert and leadership consultant who spoke at the National Pest Management Association Academy last July.
Bridging gaps in attitude and ability doesn’t just help to avoid conflicts, it also focuses collective talents on major challenges facing a business. It’s the only way to keep up with the increasing role of technology, the faster pace of work flow and the growing need for collaboration and innovation, Cran says.
To unify these groups, you need to understand them:
- Zoomers are in their late 40s to 60s. They’re the baby boomers who refuse to age. They’ve been around longer, are loyal and bring experience and wisdom. Zoomers are reinventing themselves and workplace opportunities.
- Members of Gen X are in their 30s to late 40s. They’re used to change, having been through many corporate restructurings, and have experienced first-hand how technology changed the workplace. They are entrepreneurial, project-focused and develop technology solutions.
- Members of Gen Y, tech-savvy people in their 20s to 30s, prefer to collaborate through social media. They’re smart, concerned about the environment and are comfortable with innovation.
- Those under 20 have had instant access to more information than any previous generation. They’re used to challenging rules and negotiating solutions.
The key to providing guidance and support for each generation is to remain flexible as a leader and to encourage flexibility in others. Unifying a team takes proactive leadership. Rather than pointing out the 10 percent of their weaknesses, focus on the 90 percent of the strengths each group brings.