A lot has been said about the differences between Millennials and Baby Boomers, especially when it comes to their views on work and the workplace. Understanding the differences between the generational perspectives is the key to understanding not just how incompatible they are, but where any commonalities lie in order for them to work together more harmoniously.
Here are a few ideas of how that can be achieved.
Balance talking and listeningTo talk more than to listen is a bad habit no matter your generation. While it’s fine to voice one’s opinion and ideas, it’s the inability to listen that maddens bosses and colleagues from other generations. In order to be heard and taken seriously, make a conscious effort to talk a little less and listen more, be it in a meeting, a heated discussion or a casual chat with your colleagues in the pantry. Listening is a quality that can help you overcome difficult situations and conflicts at work. If you find it difficult to stay quiet, ask open-ended questions in order to engage in the conversation.
Let actions speakExhibiting confidence can be a great way to get ahead at work. But being overly confident can often be perceived as being off-puttingly cocky or arrogant. Millennials are often criticised for overestimating their own abilities, which tends to cause irritation among older generations. In their eyes, it’s better to perform well and be humble instead of failing to meet high expectations.
While it shouldn’t make any difference to your own motivation, refrain from overly exaggerated statements and instead let your actions speak for themselves. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be proud of your skills, but overconfidence can sometimes lead to impossible standards. Besides, there are other ways get your points across.
Tone down your demands Millennials generally tend to have a sense of urgency. Hence, their requests can often come across as demanding, which usually does not sit well with Baby Boomer colleagues and bosses. Millennials should make an effort to consider how they phrase requests and keep in mind that polite requests will often help them reach their goals faster. Showing respect towards managers and colleagues will indicate that you’re able to work with others and are of value to the organisation.
While there will always be generational differences, we all should focus on how we can work better together despite our disagreements. After all, we should be able to learn from each other.