Leading any team of professionals can be a daunting task at first — especially if you are new to your leadership role. That said, as many workplaces grow to welcome workers of several different ages, new generational challenges can quickly present themselves as you work to establish common ground and promote cohesion.
Today, for the first time in recent history, the average workplace could potentially house Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Millennials, and Generation Z’ers all at once. Therefore, it is crucial that, as a leader, you are taking an active role in fostering a proper multigenerational culture.
A critical step to multigenerational team management is consideration for generational demands and expectations, and this means being as flexible as possible in your day-to-day team interactions. For instance, for each team member who may be straight out of college, you may have another who is married and has dependents. Thus, you must be strategic in balancing fundamentally different needs, remaining sensitive, consistent, and focused on improving the employee experience for everyone.
Intermingle when possible
A crucial reality of multigenerational teams is that, in most cases, they will represent a spectrum of strengths and weaknesses contingent on age and experience. Sticking with the previous example, your college-age employee may still be learning the ins and outs of day-to-day professionalism while your older, more experienced employee may only have a working understanding of prevailing technologies and social media.
A great way to simultaneously address these imbalances and promote unity is to intermingle; that is, combine employee experiences wherever possible to create a symbolic interaction focused on learning and comradery. For example, you could have your younger worker step into a fledgling mentor role with technology while they are receiving similar business-based guidance from their older co-worker. When workers are able to learn together in this manner, bonding is almost guaranteed to occur.
Establish a “supergroup” mentality
Generally, a “supergroup” is a term referring to a musical collective comprised of several artists who, on their own, have found success individually or with other projects; each member represents a unique creative piece of a new artistic puzzle. This mentality is a great one to adopt when fostering a multigenerational team. Motivate your workers by building them up as equally important, yet professionally different cogs in a well-oiled, collaborative machine. By generating excitement in this manner, there will be little room left for generational clashes or imbalances — and any that do occur will be faced with a healthier perspective.