By Andi Croft
A multigenerational team can be tough to manage. That’s because the generation gap can lead to stereotyping and biases. And these things can hinder everyone from working efficiently.
That said, you can try these seven practical strategies that you can use when managing a multigenerational team.
Set clear expectations
When you work with a multigenerational team, the first challenge would be to find a way to unite everyone so you can do a job well done at work.
As the one managing the team, it’s your job to set the expectations that everyone must follow. That way, everyone knows what it is they’re working towards when working in your team.
Setting clear expectations is an excellent way to ensure that everyone’s on the same page, regardless of age.
Leverage generational strengths
The best thing about managing multigenerational workforce is that each generation has its strengths and weaknesses. As such, it would be best to identify what each generation is good at.
Doing so ensures that you have the right people for the job. It also allows you to maximize their skills. You can also use their collective strength to fill in their weaknesses.
For instance, the younger generation is tech-savvy enough to help you build a company website. On the other hand, the older generation can QA the website to see if it is user-friendly.
The idea here is to have a wide range of skill sets and perspectives that your company can leverage.
We are all loyal to our generations. There’s no doubt that we have more affinity for the generation we were born in than the ones older or younger than us. Although there can be ribbing here and there about the generational differences, it’s not anything new that hasn’t happened before.
However, in the workplace, there must be mutual respect for one another. Everyone must treat each other with the respect that a work colleague and a professional who does their job well deserve. That baseline of respect should always be there, no matter who you are referring to.
Expecting this baseline of respect makes people more comfortable with their work without fear of stepping on people’s toes.
Fight generational stereotypes
We aren’t immune to stereotypes. Nonetheless, stereotyping and generalizing people is our brain’s way of saving energy when making a decision.
However, the generational stereotype is not something you should foster in your company. That’s because it can lead to negative bias. It’s like how our grandparents think of us as entitled, while we think of our elders as too old school.
Everyone from the older generation will think that the younger generation is lazy and privileged. The younger generation will think that those from the older generation are ignorant and outdated. It is your job as the manager to fight against these generational stereotypes.
Before you tell everyone else to do it, you have to start with yourself first. You have to learn how to admit your biases and be more conscious of them to be better at helping others fight these generational stereotypes.
Communication is key
Internal communication can help in ensuring that everyone in your multigenerational team feels heard and welcome. But this also means that you need an adaptive communication line.
Pick a communication method that is easy to use regardless of your employees’ age.
You should also consider the purpose of a communication line. Email and phone are when communicating with clients, while you can use Slack to talk with everyone in the company.
Try different mentoring arrangements
Traditionally, mentoring is conducted by a senior employee to teach the newcomers. However, mentoring should also be about skill upgrading.
Hence, you should not only base on age or seniority. Instead, consider what expertise your employee can share with everyone.
Say one of your senior employees can talk about content writing.
And then, you can follow it with a younger employee teaching how to optimize content for the search engines. Doing so can help build a system of collaboration and rapport between your team members.
Provide tailored feedback
When delivering feedback for your team members, you should separate group and individual feedback.
Giving general feedback will help guide the group effort. On the other hand, the individual and tailored feedback will be more specific and caters to their preferred feedback system.
It doesn’t only have to do with the content of the feedback. It should also count for how you deliver said feedback. Younger generations are less comfortable with phone calls and face-to-face interactions. On the other hand, older generations might want more face-to-face interaction.
Of course, don’t fall into generalizations. It’s best to ask them first to know how they prefer their feedback given.
With the tips listed above, you become a more open manager of a multigenerational team. You reduce the risk of alienating any member of your team. You’ll also find that people can work better because they are in a collaborative environment.