These questions led us to a friend who specializes in consulting with companies on exactly that, Anne Loehr of Anne Loehr & Associates. Anne writes on the topic in her column “Dear Generational Guru,” and we found one blog in particular that seems to cover what our clients are asking about: Dear Generational Guru: The Frustrated Team Manager. The article discusses some of the qualities each generation brings to the table, and she offers advice for creating a team that leverages generational strengths:
- Truly listen
Truly listening to someone is a great way to build relationships and develop trust. Plus, how are you going to understand and benefit from your employee’s unique perspective if you don’t listen to it? Pay attention to what’s said, what’s not said, words, tone of voice, and body language.
- Ask questions
When asking questions, keep them short and open-ended. Open questions start with “what” or “how.” A few examples of short, open questions are: “What’s the underlying issue?” “What’s the impact of that?” and “How can you move forward?”
- Seek input from all
When seeking ideas from your employees, especially ones you disagree with, keep it simple. Say things like, “Tell me more,” or “That’s interesting, how did you develop that idea?”
She says these three things will cultivate openness and inclusiveness in team dynamics, create an environment open to opposing views, and help everyone recognize the value of exploring a problem from various angles.
Is this your experience working with multi-generation teams?
Anne has also posted a presentation on understanding the multi-generational workforce. Take a look.