Making the generation gap work for you

Making the generation gap work for you

Gap final

Before you dismiss older workers as dinosaurs past their prime, consider that there are many things you can learn from them.

To illustrate just how different we all are, let’s consider the ways in which different generational groups communicate. Millennials send Whatsapps, tweets and instant messages to communicate. You’re accustomed to using abbreviations, informal language and colloquialisms. Baby boomers and older generation Xers tend to communicate via phone and emails. They tend to have a more formal style of communication. If your boss falls into this category, he or she may take it as a sign of disrespect if you communicate using emojis and abbreviations.

Each generation needs to adapt to how other groups operate and respect each other’s differences.   As far as communication is concerned, try to communicate with older colleagues in the way that they prefer.

Older colleagues tend to be more self-aware: they understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and they have good communication and interpersonal skills. They are good at one-on-one relationships and know how to work as team members. Look to them to improve your communication skills, and help you learn about basic workplace interpersonal skills, common courtesies and how to be an effective team player.

As a result of being in the workforce for longer, older workers tend to have strong professional and client networks. Ask a more senior colleague for advice on how to build your own networks.

You can learn a number of lessons from older colleagues. Use older colleagues as mentors to:

  • Better understand your workplace
  • Learn industry knowledge
  • Learn how to build your own network
  • Improve your interpersonal skills
  • Ensure your career is fulfilling
  • Become more independent



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