The workforce of the future consists the most diverse group of individuals coming together under one roof. Generally, the two main groups that appear not to see eye to eye are Baby Boomers (those born between 1946- 1964) and Millennials (those born betwwen 1981-1996).
The older generation of Baby Boomers tend to view younger (i.e. Millennial) co-workers as lacking discipline and focus. Millennials, on the other hand, tend to view their Baby Boomers colleagues as lacking in creativity and resistant to change.
As fun as they occasional bickering can get, outright blaming each other for misunderstandings caused by the age factor only perpetuates conflict- and makes for a less than friendly workplace . Here are some ways employees can do their part in creating a conducive environment for success at the workplace, regardless of age.
1. Listen to Understand/ Before Forming An Opinion.
We often overlook the importance of listening more and talking less. Although it is important to express your opinion and concerns, it is equally important to give other team members the chance to speak up as well.
Give your team members and fellow co-workers across departments the benefit of doubt by listening before forming an opinion. This shows that while you're willing to speak up, you're also willing to listen and learn from them.
2. Engage in Open Discussion
To achieve a mutual goal, we need to be willing to engage in discussions with all parties involved in a particular project, regardless of personal feelings or opinions.
If you disagree with a co-worker's stance, rather than act defensive, justify your stand with facts. Seek clarification to ensure that everyone is on the same page and offer your assistance where possible or needed. This makes it easier for everyone in the office to work together.
3. Avoid Making Assumptions.
When things don’t meet your expectations address the issue factually rather than make assumptions on what actually happened. For example, if a colleague was not able to deliver as agreed, instead of assuming that they were lazy/ irresponsible, reach out and clarify what actually happened- they could have been overwhelmed or affected by external circumstances.
It never hurts to clarify what your role or expectations are for a particular task or assignment- the better to ensure that you meet the predetermined goals.
4. Give Constructive Feedback Instead of Criticism.
Getting critiscism/ feedback is never easy- especially if it feels like someone is trying to score against you rather than actually help. If you sense a colleague is being too silent or defensive, pause and clarify matters – ask for their opinion and reassure them of the common concerns to meet the mutual goal. Offer assistance when they need help or connect them with another colleague who can guide them accordingly.