Project Management

Bridge the Generation Gap on Your Team

Inevitably, a team will consist of people in a variety of ages, from the Baby Boomers to the Gen Yers. How can a manager successfully bring both parties together so they can see eye to eye and work in harmony? In a post for Project Management Insight, Karen Munro examines the root of the problem and proposes a solution.

All Perspectives Count

When it comes to an age gap, stereotypes from both sides can be heard resonating throughout the office: “They are too old to understand technology,” “They have no respect for their superiors.” Although generalizations such as these carry with them a hint of truth, in actuality the problem is a change in values between the differing generations. One of these substantial differences is that Generation Y grew up constantly being recognized and reassured that their work is exceptional, while the Baby Boomers work hard without this feeling of “entitlement.”

When it comes to managing this spectrum of views, there is a simple solution every manager can do: talk to them. Munro will often meet with every member individually. The younger generation often has insight and new ways of thinking that enhance the project, especially in regards to technology.

It is not always easy to approach those with differing ideas equally, but it is imperative to the process. Everyone should be treated the same despite their age or level of experience. Ask for different perspectives and be open to learning from what they have to say. Exhibit the same amount of respect to everyone. Despite people having different values, they are all appreciated in their own manner. Always be kind; this will go a long way in showing respect and receiving respect back.

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