Do you have perceived generation gaps between workers on your project team? You know what I mean, younger team members who don’t listen to older more experienced team members. Older and more experienced team members who won’t listen to the younger and newer team members.
Do these ‘differences’ mean that their are issues with the way that the team functions, the way that people interact with each other and how you then interact with them?
In a recent article I read that spoke about this very thing the author Christine Khor said
[pullquote align=”normal”]”The issue of respect between generations is a difficult one. We’ve all heard the following statements as if they are empirically true: Baby Boomers can’t keep up with new technology Gen Y’s don’t show respect for those with more seniority and experience under their belt Olders workers are resistant to change and think they have learned everything they need to know Gen Y has a false sense of entitlement believing they are equal to others who have been doing the job for years These statements have a sliver of truth to them, however they are still generalisations and stereotypes. The problem comes down to a natural shift in the values of each generation.” [/pullquote]
How do you manage these sort of issues on your project team?
One of the key things that I have done is meet each and every team member as equal. The young person (younger than me) has a new and often different way of working and I have learnt some valuable things from them. They have shown me how to use and meet technology and not be afraid of it. They are more innovative in their thinking, at least that is what I have personally found.
Yes, as a Project Manager I am going to resonate more with one generation of worker. They are my own ‘group.’ I understand them better, I think, as they are like me. Does that mean that I don’t have issues with some people in this generation when they have a different perspective on a way to do something, no it doesn’t.
So, how then can you meet everyone as equal?
- Treat everyone the same regardless of their age or level of experience
- Ask different people for their perspectives, especially in team meetings and really listen to what they have to say. You might be surprised at what you learn!
- Be open to trying something new.
- Show everyone the same level of respect.
- Understand that whilst people may have different values, they are each valuable in their own way
- Be kind at all times. If you are being unkind to another, you are also being unkind to yourself in a similar way.
What one thing will you do differently the next time you meet one of your team members to interact with them in a more equal way?