Advertising
Advertising

9 Tips For Getting Along With Coworkers From Different Generations

9 Tips For Getting Along With Coworkers From Different Generations

A healthy workplace requires non-stop communication, but when your office includes by-the-book Baby Boomers, skeptical Gen X-ers, and collaborative Millennials, roadblocks will come up on your information highways.

A multigenerational workforce isn’t a new phenomenon, but the enormous shift that’s taken place over the past 20 years in the rules of business and how we communicate has created some unique intergenerational dynamics.

While seasoned professionals are being forced to become tech savvy and hip to new workplace culture or fall behind, many younger employees are expected to adhere to entrenched hierarchies and dress codes if they want to get ahead.

Friction may be inevitable, but you can help ease the tension by considering how your coworkers’ generation may be impacting their perspective and approach.

Here are 9 tips for how to get along with—and impress—the Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials in your workplace. To test your generational IQ, take this quiz.

Baby Boomers

Advertising

14

    Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, grew up in a generally optimistic time when letters were typed and sent by mail, business was conducted face-to-face, and the telephone was the fastest way to communicate. If you work alongside or report to a Baby Boomer, keep these three tips in mind.

    Honor Their Experience

    When presenting information or making requests of a Baby Boomer, take their title, experience, and tenure with the company into consideration. Show them overt respect and deference, just as they did with their superiors. This means acknowledging their expertise and giving them an opportunity to absorb information and vocalize their thoughts before piping up with your own opinions and conclusions.

    Be Prepared

    Boomers spent much of their careers working long hours without the distraction of social media and instant messaging. Reports and memos took dedicated time to research and perfect before printing and distributing. Boomers will expect you to invest time and focus to get things right before sending out documents, holding meetings, or giving presentations. And they’ll want you to be well prepared to answer their questions with evidence, precedents, and data.

    Respect Boundaries

    Advertising

    For Baby Boomers, there was a chain of command; rarely would a junior account executive go directly to a vice president with a new product idea. So, if you have a Boomer for a coworker, collaborate freely, but if you report to a Boomer, they may prefer not to work side by side with you as you do your work. And if it seems they’re none too eager to catch a baseball game with you after work, don’t take it personally; traditional workplace relationships were often business-only.

    Generation X

    1

      Gen X-ers, born between the mid-1960s and 1979, came of age when corporate scandals peppered the news, governments clashed, and their parents were often working long hours, leaving them to fend for themselves and learn independently. This bred innovation and autonomy, along with a healthy skepticism of the status quo. If you work alongside or report to a Gen X-er, keep these three tips in mind.

      Be Efficient

      Gen X-ers are great with email communication but get impatient with shortcuts, sloppy writing, and too much fluff. They want efficiency and accuracy. So don’t worry about playing into the ego of a Gen X-er when you communicate—just stick to what’s working, what’s not, and your next steps. And don’t request tons of meetings or time commitments unless they’re really necessary.

      Walk Your Talk

      Advertising

      Though Gen X-ers respect hierarchy, they grew up in a time of questioning authority and challenging the establishment. So they’re more likely to respect your actions over your job title or where you went to grad school. If you set expectations around punctuality, be on time. If you ask for honest feedback on an idea, accept that feedback without getting defensive. If you say you’re going to finish your report by Friday, get it done by Friday morning or, even better, Thursday afternoon.

      Respect Their Independence

      Gen X-ers are known for a “if you want it done right, do it yourself” mentality, so give them roles where they have autonomy and projects they can work on independently. Don’t force teamwork on them or be offended by their tendency to want to work solo; you’ll get their best work when you give them space.

      Generation Y (Millennials)

      7

        Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1995 and also called Millennials, are often referred to as “digital natives,” having grown up with internet connectivity, digital devices, and 250+ cable TV channels. They were raised to value teamwork and constant feedback and tend to have a strong sense of self-worth. If you work alongside or report to a Gen Y-er, keep these three tips in mind.

        Give The Big Picture

        Advertising

        Gen Y-ers are used to a transparent world where answers to questions are never more than a few clicks away and nothing is kept secret for long. The way you communicate with a Millennial isn’t as important as how openly you communicate. They want to know how your information or request applies to them personally, how it might affect their career development, and how it fits in with the big picture of your organization’s goals.

        Give Frequent Feedback

        Provide feedback often and immediately to Millennials. Let them know clearly what they’re doing right, what they need to improve, and how to improve. Don’t be afraid to offer advice and appropriate levels of coaching, but keep your relationship intact by offering feedback specific to the task at hand; direct your criticism to their work, not them personally.

        Be Inclusive

        Raised with the motto “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team,” Millennials have been trained to be collaborative and involved. So, involve them! Invite your Gen Y colleagues to sit at the table, hear both the good and the bad news, and brainstorm ideas and solutions. Don’t worry about their level at the company or yours. The process of sharing ideas and collaborating is exciting for younger professionals, who are eager to learn and be part of a winning team.

        More by this author

        Sharen Ross

        Marketing Strategy Consultant

        36 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching 8 Ways to Overcome Impulsive Spending Tracking your spending can improve your life in dramatic ways. 5 Surprising Benefits of Tracking Your Spending How To Master The Multigenerational Workforce 9 Tips For Getting Along With Coworkers From Different Generations 9 Tips For Getting Along With Coworkers From Different Generations

        Trending in Communication

        1 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People 2 How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life 3 10 Warning Signs of Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Confidence 4 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear 5 The Lifehack Show Episode 3: Why Validation is Key to Lasting Relationships

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on July 18, 2019

        What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

        What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People

        Some people just seem to float through life with a relentless sense of happiness – through the toughest of times, they’re unfazed and aloof, stopping to smell the roses and drinking out of a glass half full.

        They may not have much to be happy about, but the simplicity behind that fact itself may make them happy.

        It’s all a matter of perspective, conscious effort and self-awareness. Listed below are a number of reasons why some people are always happy.

        1. They Manage Their Expectations

        They’re not crushed when they don’t get what they want – or misled into expecting to get the most out of every situation. They approach every situation pragmatically, hoping for the best but being prepared for the worst.

        2. They Don’t Set Unrealistic Standards

        Similar to the last point, they don’t live their lives in a constant pursuit towards impossible visions of perfection, only to always find themselves falling short of what they want.

        3. They Don’t Take Anything for Granted

        Happiness rests with feeling fulfilled – those who fail to stop and appreciate what they have every now and again will never experience true fulfillment.

        Advertising

        4. They’re Not Materialistic

        There are arguing viewpoints on whether or not money can really buy happiness; if it can, then we know from experience that we can never be satisfied because there will always be something newer or better that we want. Who has ever had enough money?

        5. They Don’t Dwell

        They don’t sweat the small things or waste time worrying about things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. They don’t let negative thoughts latch onto them and drain them or distract them. Life’s too short to worry.

        6. They Care About Themselves First

        They’re independent, care for themselves and understand that they must put their needs first in order to accommodate the needs of others.

        They indulge, aim to get what they want, make time for themselves and are extremely self-reliant.

        7. They Enjoy the Little Things

        They stop to smell the roses. They’re accustomed to find serenity when it’s available, to welcome entertainment or a stimulating discussion with a stranger when it crosses their path. They don’t overlook the small things in life that can be just as important.

        8. They Can Adapt

        They’re not afraid of change and they work to make the most out of new circumstances, good or bad. They thrive under pressure, are not overwhelmed easily and always embrace a change of pace.

        Advertising

        9. They Experiment

        They try new things, experience new flavors and never shy away from something they have yet to experience. They never order twice from the same menu.

        10. They Take Their Time

        They don’t unnecessarily rush through life. They work on their own schedule to the extent that they can and maneuver through life at their own relaxing pace.

        11. They Employ Different Perspectives

        They’re not stuck in one perspective; a loss can result in a new opportunity, hitting rock bottom can mean that there’s no where to go but up.

        12. They Seek to Learn

        Their constant pursuit of knowledge keeps them inspired and interested in life. They cherish information and are on a life-long quest to learn as much as they can.

        13. They Always Have a Plan

        They don’t find themselves drifting without purpose. When something doesn’t go as planned, they have a plan for every letter in the alphabet to fall back on.

        14. They Give Respect to Get It

        They are respectful and, in turn, are seen as respectable; the respect they exude earns them the respect they deserve.

        Advertising

        15. They Consider Every Opportunity

        They always have their eyes open for a new road, a new avenue worth exploring. They know how to recognize opportune moments and pounce on them to make the most of every situation. Success is inevitable for them.

        16. They Always Seek to Improve

        Perpetual self-improvement is the key towards their ongoing thirst for success. Whatever it is they do, they take pride in getting better and better, from social interactions to mundane tasks. Their pursuit at being the best eventually materializes.

        17. They Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

        They’re not ones to get offended easily over-analyze or complicate matters. They laugh at their own faults and misfortunes.

        18. They Live in the Moment

        They don’t live for tomorrow or dwell on what may have happened yesterday. Every day is a new opportunity, a new chapter. They live in the now, and in doing so, get the most out of every moment.

        You can learn how to do so too: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

        19. They Say Yes

        Much more often than they say no. They don’t have to be badgered to go out, don’t shy away from new opportunities or anything that may seem inconvenient.

        Advertising

        20. They’re Self-Aware

        Most important, they’re wholly aware of themselves. They self-reflect and are conscious of their states of mind. If somethings bothering them, they fix it.

        We’re all susceptible to feeling down every now and again, but we are all equipped with the necessary solutions that just have to be discovered.

        Lack of confidence, inability to feel fulfilled, and susceptibility to stress are all matters that can be controlled through the way we handle our lives and perceive our circumstances.

        Learn about How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life.

        Final Thoughts

        The main philosophy employed by the happiest includes the idea that life’s simply too short: life’s too short to let things get you down, to take things for granted, to pursue absolute and unrealistic perfection.

        For some, employing these characteristics is a second nature – they do it without knowing. For others, a conscious effort must be put forth every now and again. Self-Awareness is key.

        More About Happiness

        Featured photo credit: Charles Postiaux via unsplash.com

        Read Next