Pulse March / April 2018 - Page 52

The parallel facing many managers today is how to blend diverse age groups and cultures in ways that create a pleasant workplace with high productivity. Researchers say that by 2020, five generations may be working side by side in offices and factories. Looking 40 to 50 years ahead, they predict that the number could rise to seven generations as life expectancy continues to increase and work lives lengthen along with it. Because this is occurring for the first time in history, there are few precedents for leadership in such an environment, which opens the door for plenty of challenges. How do you integrate age groups with different backgrounds and future goals? How do you motivate or relate to someone older or younger than yourself? The terminology for keeping all these balls in the air is “cross-generational leadership,” and the juggling takes practice and planning. Being sensitive to differing needs and desires is important, but understand that too much emphasis may be divisive. Here are several ways to effectively bridge the divide between the generations on your team, while simulta- neously leading them all to success: 1. support mentoring between groups. This is referred to as “cross-genera- tional interaction.” Tech-savvy millennials may feel they have an important edge over older workers, but boomers may have experience millennials lack. Retaining the best of both is the goal. Have you heard the adage, “teaching is learning?” It’s true. Encouraging knowledge-sharing among and between genera- tions can improve how people work together. Encourage younger workers to seek the wisdom and experience of older, “senior” employees and older workers to appreciate the fresh viewpoints and technological prowess of the younger group. As they teach each other, they’ll actually be learning themselves. (conTInUEd on PAGE 50) Mentoring goes both ways! Encourage members of your staff from different generations to learn from each other. 48 PULSE ■ March/April 2018