The other day I had a question on how to manage a multi-generational team and help them be successful. Some of the best teams I have ever seen and had the privilege to work with were teams made up of multi-generations. There is such a great opportunity to learn and mutual collaboration!
Nowadays multi-generational teams are the norm in small businesses that team leaders are responsible to manage and lead. Motivating and understanding the different communication and work styles can be challenging when trying to accommodate them.
Today in the workforce your team can be consist of the following age groups:
- Traditionalists (1922-1945)
- Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
- X Generation (1965-1980)
- Y Generation – Millennials (1981-1997)
- Z Generation – (1998 to present)
These generation “names” we have been given are just a SUPER VAGUE way of describing how we may see things differently based on how we grew up at the time. Regardless of the generation, most of us want work with respect and amity with our own work/life balance. Yet, I have come across some Super heroes in some teams that defy that stereotype!
Here are some ways you can support and help a multi-generational team thrive.
- Consider their differences in work approaches. Remember that each has their range of strengths and experiences that they offer. Those strengths are a great opportunity to build high performance teams with those varying skills.
- Avoid stereotypes. Just become someone was born in a certain era does not define their skills, knowledge, behavior and training. They are all unique so base their skills and experience on their own merit.
- Help bring them together with commonalities. Use those common strengths and experiences to cultivate their collaboration and connection with one another. This can also help build mentoring opportunities informally to build better team relationships.
- Understand that it is not a one-way approach with all of them. There is going to be different ways they each process information, work and what their expectations are. Managing is not a one size fits all so being a leader involves understanding that each team member has their needs.
- Promote cross-training between the team to help build their skills and experiences. This will support the experience that the older generations have, building rapport and engaging the younger generations.
- Minimize the generational silos and cliques. Although it’s a natural thing to want to hang out with those we have the most in common, keeping groups within the same demographic can stifle creativity.
- Remain flexible and supportive. Its never perfect. Respect everyone, understand there will be conflicts – just like there are in ALL teams and be supportive in helping them work effectively through those moments.
- Bring a common goal. A common task or goal that they can work towards will help bring them together.
Finally, once you do that, age is irrelevant, and it is about building the team for success and will help them work collaboratively.
Building a multi-generational team will provide your business with different perspectives and strengths that can help you succeed. By doing so, it will build a more productive team environment everyone can thrive in.