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    Working Together with Different Generations

    How to Work Well with Different Generations of People

    Posted on 3/23/2008

    This is a ubiquitous problem to work smoothly with different generations. I personally realized this, working with my father and my niece who is just seven years old.

    I go smoothly with an age group of 20 to 40 as I am 29, but its tough to adjust with people younger than 10 or older than 50.

    This is my very first time when I have invested money in my dad’s business. I never liked his way of working or his attitude to the business but I had no other options left out as I am working 8:00AM to 5:00PM for someone else. I was looking for some opportunities where I can invest and who else can be better than my dad? I started investing but my problem started since then. His work culture, business ethics, passion, commitments, and even communications were never compatible with me. It was really hard to adjust with him.

    I have a colleague from sales department who is around 60 to 65 years old. I am a tech guy so everyone in office runs to me when they face problems with their PC. I am scared to see this guy near my desk as he doesn’t understand what I say and I really don’t understand what he speaks. He even doesn’t know how to save a file, composing emails in outlook and many more. I feel it was really easy to teach my niece than this guy.

    My niece is just 7 years old, she is always better to work with than any older guys. The only problem I see when working with her is, she wants to learn things faster and commits mistakes while going so fast. Same time she learns fast as well. It also helps me in working with her as I go with a lower expectation but still it is not the same as working with people on my generation.

    Working with Older Generation

    How can we get the over 40s to see we can do the job more effectively if they would let us do it in our way?

    First, let them know you understand the old ways. If you always have an innovative system and you fail their little quiz on the old one, you’re toast. If you are 24 and your coworker is 41, you need to make sure he knows that you know that his experience is an asset to you. A 26 year old department head with 30 direct reports who were all in their 30s and 40s did not heed this advice personally in those days, so his nickname was “Punk-boy manager.” It’s hard to wield an authority with that label floating around the office.

    Gratitude and respect is what the over 40 group really wants from. You’ve got it made if you can fake that.

    Working with Younger Generation

    How can we get more productivity and work well along with people under 20?

    Wishing people to be like you is not a strategy. You have to motivate the under 20s the way they grew up being motivated. They need to be always praised along the way to the goal. Celebrate the small victories on the road to their success and quit telling these workers about five-year plans; their plan in five years is to have another plan. Mostly likely, this plan will not involve you or your company (no offense). Give them short and tight deadlines and make sure low-tech tools do not hinder your objectives. If their home computer is twice as fast as the one at work, they have a crummy job. And most important, they always want to do a good job and get a reward in the first week. Make sure your system will allow that to happen.

    And finally, what do we need to do to work more effectively with each other as a team?

    Get ourselves over! People who grow up at different part of history have a unique outlook and experience toward life. It’s always been in that way and will continue. And though these differences seem a bit greater than those in the past, they are in effect naturally. Dealing with diversity and understanding each other’s differences is critical to communication and success. So, letting people be who and what they are and dealing with it is not new. It’s always easy to say, “We were all young once” – but the truth is we were not all young under the same circumstances.

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