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  • Jessie I.

How to manage a cross-generational team

Updated: May 30

Research shows that diversity is beneficial to the productivity of the team. so having a team that consists of members from different generations can be an advantage if you know how to manage the team well. Below are some tips.


To effectively manage employees of various generations, consider these questions:

What point in their lives are they at?

What will their career goals be affected by their stage of life?

How can you help them achieve the objectives they have shared with you?

You won't be able to determine their true motivations until you openly discuss their values and where they come from. You will be able to identify both opportunities to tap into what drives them and obstacles, such as the Gen X team member's fear of being replaced.


old lady in front of a computer

Common aspirations of the Baby Boomers, Gen X,Y and Z

Therefore, Baby Boomers' primary focus is on job stability and consistency rather than shifting careers or ascending the corporate ladder. Taking care of immediate family is a major concern for Generation X, which takes up a lot of time and costs a lot of money. Because of this, they may be interested in health care, flexible scheduling, and opportunities to increase their compensation.

Millennials are currently undergoing significant life transitions, such as purchasing a home and starting or expanding their families. These kinds of decisions had been put off by financial crises in previous decades, but now that many Millennials are in their 30s, they are front and center.

Millennials are setting new priorities: Health insurance and maternity/paternity leave are becoming increasingly important to the so-called "hustle culture" in favor of a better work-life balance. After leaving the structures of formal education, Gen Zers are currently in early adulthood, a period marked by frequent shifts in their search for identity and stability.

Generation Z, who were born during a time of economic uncertainty, place a premium on flexible work schedules. Generational bias, also known as generational tension, is the belief that members of a particular generation are either better than you or exhibit certain negative behaviors.


A Common mistake managers make is being biased

Examples of generational bias include:

the notion that Millennials are lazy and obsessed with themselves.

the notion that members of Generation Z have a short attention span and prefer to "job hop."

the notion that office technology is difficult for Baby Boomers.

Despite the fact that these may appear to be harmless jokes, generational biases can ultimately harm the relationships on your team. Avoid using them or encouraging your team to do so because they make it more difficult than necessary to manage generational differences at work.


Treat them as individuals

Obviously, there are differences between generations. However, it's possible that some of these perceived differences are more stereotypical than beneficial. Consider how you treat each employee and whether you are truly judging them as individuals or projecting a generational expectation.

It's important to get to know everyone on the team so you don't let these stereotypes cloud your perception of them. You probably handle this well with people of your generation, but less well with people of other generations.

It will be easier to lead them despite generational differences the more you work to learn about them, their interests, and their goals. You'll be able to motivate them better and earn their trust more. That applies to all generations.

Keep in mind that Task Relevant Maturity has no age when managing across generations; You should trust a young team member because they might be very good at their job. Equally, a more senior or older member of the team might be completely unfamiliar with a task or new role and feel uneasy about it. At this point, it is important to discreetly support and coach them to success.

Recognizing that each member of your team is a distinct individual is even more crucial than generational differences. We all have the same needs, anxieties, and pains. The difference lies in the fact that over time, their meanings shift.


Use your one to ones wisely

Keep in mind that feedback comes from both you and your team. Make it a habit to ask for feedback and give it to your team—it's crucial to managing across generations.

You can create opportunities for members of different ages to collaborate with one another and coach one another to overcome generational divides in order to solve problems within your teams. They will be able to exchange knowledge and skills as well as establish rapport and trust with one another.


Mix and Match to make the most out of them

Teams can easily organize themselves around the people they most relate to; That frequently results in generational divides, with older team members spending time with older coworkers and younger team members with younger colleagues.

Having everyone bring their best knowledge to teach and share with everyone else is a great way to break down these natural tendencies.Take some time to work with each member of your team to find out where they stand in terms of their skills and how they want to advance. Then, evaluate each person's development and skills. You will probably discover that some people are stronger than others and would benefit from learning. They will form the strongest bonds and beneficial mentoring relationships if they are paired together.

In the end, we all want the same thing: to be appreciated and valued. Any generational differences you may face can be overcome if you can assist an employee in doing so. Make time to talk to each team member and learn more about them. The more you understand them, the more you can assist them in acquiring what they require. And as a result, both their attitude and performance are enhanced.

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