Busting Generational Bias

Did you know that there are currently five generations represented in the workplace?
There has been a lot of negative stereotyping about Millennials. Are they really as bad as the media says? What about the other four generations?
While there is a lot of focus on the friction, we believe that each generation has gifts to bring to the workplace. The gifts are not always recognized, and in some cases, they come in strange “packages” and get dismissed.
Here are just a few of the gifts that you will receive if you pause and unwrap them through a curious conversation with someone from a different generation. A curious conversation is one in which you are genuinely eager to learn or understand something.

  • Perspective – each generation, from the Traditionalists to Boomers, GenX to Xenial (a micro generation) Millennials to GenZ or the Digital Natives, have unique perspectives. Based on when and how someone grows up, they see things differently. Rather than judging, use this as a source of innovation and creativity. See how each point of view can illuminate discussion topics completely differently.
  • Skill Sets – whether it’s technology, approaches to problem solving or collaboration, each generation has skill sets the others can benefit from, if there is openness to these gifts. For example, the Millennial generation is extremely gifted at being collaborative. Build on the strengths rather than making malicious assumptions.
  • Motivations – what matters to each generation is significantly different. Instead of motivations being a source of irritation, ask questions to understand what matters to someone from a different generation. Seek to understand rather than dismiss the difference.

To benefit from the gifts of generations you must be open to understanding. Use questions to create clarity and approach conversations with an open (non-judgmental) mindset. This will help you bust generational bias and address one of the greatest workplace diversity challenges – ageism.

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