With such a wide range of generations working together in one office, it’s important to understand the expectations of communication across the different groups. If you’re in a multi-generational work dynamic, here are a few tips that can significantly help your day to day communication success.
Know the Expectation of Company Culture – Each company has a different expectation of what is acceptable in terms of formality. It’s important that you understand what that expectation is so that you can successfully meet it. If it’s not currently clear to you, ask. You want to make sure that you’re on the same page with your employer, especially when you’re dealing with more than one communication style in the workplace.
Come Out of Your Communication Shell – Each generation prefers a different avenue of communication and it’s important that you don’t box yourself into one medium. Some prefer face to face communication, others prefer email or text messaging. Know and practice both so that you’re able to communicate effectively to different preferences.
Be Eager / Willing to Learn – It’s easy to shy away from the things that we don’t understand. Instead of rejecting unfamiliar territory, seek to learn more about it and understand how to appreciate differentiated styles, methods and approaches. If we’re all willing to understand where each group is coming from, we’re far more likely to relate in a more effective way.
Be Patient and Willing to Teach – We all have something that we can learn from each other. It’s important that we don’t get frustrated with the weaker areas of a different age group. We should be willing to help the other by teaching them to grow in areas that need improvement. For instance, baby boomers tend to be less tech savvy. It can be frustrating, but helping them to understand and use technology more effectively will benefit everyone. Simply ignoring the problem and passing a task off to a younger person doesn’t help anything in the long run. Conversely, the older generations have a lot of wisdom and experience to pass on to the younger guys. Be patient with them as they learn, teach them what you know and help them to develop into maturity.