Building Effective Teams Across Generations

Tad Dickel recently presented at the AAF-CRC (American Advertising Federation Central Region Conference on the topic “Building Effective Teams Across Generations.”

Here are some highlights from the presentation:

There are currently five generations in the workplace:

Millennials are now the largest generation in the workplace:

In the book Sticking Points, Haydn Shaw (2013) identified twelve common challenges for different generations to navigate:

  1. “Communication: What is the best way to interact with my coworkers?
  2. Decision Making: How do we decide what to do?
  3. Dress Code: How casually can I dress?
  4. Feedback: How often and in what ways do I want input?
  5. Fun at Work: How much fun at work is allowed?
  6. Knowledge Transfer: How do we pass on critical knowledge to new employees?
  7. Loyalty: When is it okay to move on?
  8. Meetings: What should happen in our meetings?
  9. Policies: Are policies rules or guidelines?
  10. Respect: How do I get others to respect me?
  11. Training: How do I learn best?
  12. Work Ethic: How many hours are required, and when must I work them?” (p. 30)

Shaw (2013) also developed a five step strategy for working through these “sticking points”:

  1. “Acknowledge: Talk about generational differences.
  2. Appreciate: Focus on the “why,” not the “what,” and the common needs.
  3. Flex: Agree on how to accommodate different approaches.
  4. Leverage: Maximize the strengths of each generation.
  5. Resolve: Determine which option will yield the best results (when flexing isn’t enough.” (p. 31)

When we talk about generational differences, this is often done in a negative manner. We need to:

  1. Show respect
  2. Appreciate differences
  3. Be careful about stereotypes
  4. We are more similar than different

We provide training on building effective teams across generations and also help facilitate these important conversations related to these differences.

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