HOW TO BENEFIT FROM DIFFERENT STRENGTHS INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING ABOUT GENERATIONAL CONFLICTS
In almost all companies and organizations, I hear complaints about Generation Z, which is supposedly so difficult, so demanding and terribly sensitive.
Generational conflicts have always existed and will always exist. But Gen Z and the following Generation Alpha do not mean the “end” for economic power, productivity and efficiency!
Such a condemnation is in no way helpful! Let us rather see the possibilities!
Today, in many cases, the Baby Boomer generation, Generations X, Y and Gen Z work in one and the same organizational structure. What an opportunity to have four generations working together on projects and in process flows!
How do we succeed in finding common values and working together?
see each other, listen to each other!
Really listening is not so easy and besides, we are not used to it! If we listen to each other in such a way that we first of all do not comment on anything, only hear and see what is described with what energy and what verve by the other person, much is gained! Do not follow the impulse to immediately answer something or to let out counterarguments to what is said, but listen without comment! Best, to visualize in the inside what the counterpart has actually said how and so exactly that one could repeat it afterwards! Only then think about it! And only much later deal with your own answer to it!
change perspectives, instead of maintaining prejudices!
All the bad characteristics that are said about the counterpart “The baby boomers are stubborn and inflexible!”, “The Gen Zs are critical, spoiled and work-shy!” contain adjectives in which opportunities are hidden! Isn’t being “critical” appropriate and valuable in many cases? Is “work-shy” really a justified description, or does it revolve around the demand for a legitimate discussion about work processes that simply have to change due to digitalization and globalization? Behind an “inflexible” attitude, is there perhaps an adherence to processes for good experience and good reason?
knowing the values of others brings mutual understanding!
Go through values with representatives of different generations. Does “safety” mean the same thing to everyone and why? How is collegiality defined in different mindsets, what is part of it, what is not? Why is the value of “development prospects” rated much higher for some, higher than salary and benefits, than for others? What is behind this and how has it developed? This opens up unimagined potential for a jointly designed change in values!
work out strengths, instead of firmly carpentering differences!
Every generation has its absolute strengths! It makes much more sense to use the respective strengths than to engage in trench warfare! Young employees have grown up in digitization, they do not groan under it, but many Gen Zs swim in new technologies like fish in water. Older employees often have strong stamina and vision. Recognizing both and using them together to drive development is the key!