Generational Differences & Communication. At Work, Home & Play. Learning Objectives. Identify four generations in the workplace, and define them by experiences and events. Compare and contrast the values and the potential outcomes of generational interaction.
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At Work, Home & Play
Leadership Style Direct, Command & Control
Communications Formal/memo, One on One
Other No news is good news
Experience is respected
Education for many was a dream
Money—save and pay with cash
Family is traditional
Leadership Style Consensual, Collegial
Interaction Team player, love to have meetings!
Communication In person
Other Love title recognition
You are valued and needed
Education is a birthright
Family begins disintegrating
Buy now, pay later
Leadership Style Everyone is the same
Other Freedom is the best reward
Latch Key Kids
Education is a way to get there
Sorry to interrupt,but how am I doing?
Matures and Boomers may have a tendency not to question or challenge authority or the status quo. This may cause confusion and resentment among the Xers and Nexters who have been taught to speak up.
Xers and Nexters who have had different life experiences and communicate with people differently, may fail to actively listen to Boomers and Matures, thereby missing valuable information and guidance.
The events and conditions each of us experience during our formative years help define who we are and how we view the world.
Which of the following most accurately identifies the four generations in the workplace.
Matures, Boomers, Xers, Generaltionalists
Boomers, Mature, Nexters and Socialists
Mature, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters
None of the above
Communication across the generations has no impact on tangible cost, (i.e. recruitment, hiring or retention).
Feedback styles are fairly consistent from one generation to the next.
The most successful leaders find ways of letting different generations be heard.
Actively listening to staff that represent different generations causes confusion and is unproductive.
Managing generational differences means avoiding conflict by controlling the way people speak out.
None of the above
Feedback style and form can be impacted by generational differences
Information flows in all directions in a learning organization. The most successful leaders find a way to let every generation be heard. They recognize that no one has all the answers. This appreciation of diversity allows each group to contribute and be a part of the growth of an organization.
You run a collectibles shop patronized primarily by those over sixty. Heather, your delightful new "twenty-something" counter clerk, has just shown up this morning with a shock of orange and purple hair on the left side of her head. What do you do?
You’ve discovered, over time, that the teenagers working for you can’t add, subtract or multiply to save their lives. A spot check of a recent inventory was so inaccurate that it will have to be re-done. The problem is that they don’t seem to care. How do you get them invested?
Your new assistant general manager is twenty-seven with a degree in business management. This summer, you’ve placed him in charge of the cadre of senior citizen volunteers who staff many parts of the theme park. A delegation of these volunteers came to you this morning, warning of an insurrection if he doesn’t treat them with more respect. What do you do?
You’ve just discovered that the new "kid" you hired to install a computer system in your three stores also installed a whole selection of games for employees to play when they’re bored. You brought the issue up in a staff meeting and they argued that they should be able to play the games as long as the work is done. At 59, you "know" that the work is never done. Now you’re faced with the unpopular task of uninstalling the games, but you don’t even know how.
Your best front desk staffer has just announced that she has the lead in a college production. She says she’s already worked the schedule out with the rest of those on front desk so that she won’t have to work weekends and evenings for the next six months. While you support what she’s doing, it may also open the way to a host of other exceptions. In addition, a couple of staffers have already groused about it. You’re beginning to wonder how she represented your feelings about her rearranging the schedule.
You are a project manager with many years of service. The "twenty-something" you hired seven months ago, graduated from college with a 3.95 GPA, but you just can’t get used to her blasé attitude about work. You’ve tried to set a good example by keeping her in the loop on every project and praising what she does, but she just smiles and says, "I know." It’s becoming increasingly apparent to you that she’s building experience in your division for the expressed purpose of taking it somewhere else as soon as possible.
Over the past three years, you have discovered that the quality of written communication leaving your department has deteriorated considerably. Last week, you caught another letter with poor grammar and incomplete thoughts on it’s way out the door. Two months ago, you received a letter one of your people had sent, returned in the mail. The recipient had edited it for spelling and grammar, in a red pen…………..
When you’ve mentioned this situation at a couple of staff meetings, it has been apparent that the staff doesn’t think there’s anything wrong. In one case, someone retorted, "We’re engineers, not English majors."
Two of your people are at each other’s throats most of the time. While they’re supposed to be collaborating on a project, their section of the department has developed into your own little soap opera. Roger, a 54-year-old engineer, is everybody’s idea of meticulous. While he is comfortable using computers, he has a tendency to revert back to the good old calculator when it comes time for the critical numbers…………
…..This makes his associate, Brad, nuts. Brad is a twenty-six-year-old engineer who trusts computers implicitly. Truth to tell, you’re not convinced that Brad understands the derivations of the calculations and may be hiding his ignorance by riding Roger about his meticulousness. Besides, Brad showed up at work with a small earring the other day and its obvious that he’s enjoying the impact it’s having on Roger.
To you, punctuality has always been a demonstration of respect within the workplace. But there doesn’t seem to be a person under thirty who shows up consistently on time. If you were to calculate all the missed time, it would number in the thousands of hours. Everybody keeps tells you to "lighten up", but with you, its an integrity issue. At 59, you’ve got three years to go, but it is still a real sticking point for you.
One of your co-workers is 20 years your junior. She is a bright, well-trained professional who entered your department six months ago from graduate school. While she can be warm and friendly, she also possesses a "take-no-prisoners" attitude when addressing certain issues. This has produced considerable friction within the department and headaches for you in dealing with those outside. When you've approached her about being more diplomatic in a particular situation, her response has been, "These people are in the wrong. Why is there a need for diplomacy?"
After a reorganization, you find yourself surrounded by those 30-35 years younger than you. While they work hard when on the job, what goes on in their leisure time dominates most conversations in the office. Your supervisor, someone 10 years your junior, does little to keep meetings on task and most degenerate into discussions of snowboarding, golf, cars, etc. Being a 35-year veteran of the organization, you feel a much stronger sense of duty and this lack of focus frustrates you no end.
You have been assigned as team leader of a department consisting of "twenty-somethings" and "sixty-somethings." It is no secret that those in their 60s are counting the days until retirement and are loath to go out on a limb. This "play it safe" attitude infuriates a couple of the younger workers who have threatened to leave if you don't do something to "address the situation." Being a 48-year-old with 20 years on the job, your feelings tend to side more with those close to retirement.
Your director is a by-the-book supervisor, 20 years your senior. Punching the clock and following strict doctrine appears to be consistently more important than getting the "right" job done. While she occasionally eases her grip on every action taken, she is sure to catch herself within the next week and clamp down on any decisions being made without first consulting the "book." Being a veteran yourself, you can understand her adherence to regulations. But her lack of flexibility has proven counterproductive more than once.
The new receptionist has yet to arrive on time for work. Her attire generally consists of cargo pants, a T-shirt and Doc Martens. She is constantly checking her pager for personal calls and gives you a "I'm doing my job so get out of my face" look whenever you glance her way. No one wants to deal with her and her attitude has become both a source of amusement and disgust within the organization. The person to confront her was quoted chapter and verse regarding the right of a person to wear anything they want to work. Now it's your turn as team leader.
Try as you might, you can’t seem to keep the twenty-somethings on your staff from playing computer games every chance they get. When the games were removed from the computers, they brought in hand-held devices and continued to play. They said that this was their way of combating "Big Brother.“……………
…………….It almost feels like they’re laughing at your seemingly anachronistic ways. With a shortage of engineers and technical people nationwide, you hesitate to say too much for fear that you’ll have an insurrection. When you’ve brought the situation to their attention, the collective response has been, "We’re getting the work done, aren’t we?"
You’re a 23-year-old engineer, fresh out of Cornell. Your supervisor is 58. He begins every other sentence with the words, "I remember." The problem is, you don’t care about the past. Your focus is on the future, and he keeps telling you to pay your dues. You took this job because it allows for the time you want to spend in competitive cycling. But the pace of this place is so slow, it’s going to drive you nuts!
At age 28, you are a brand new mother and have been with the organization for the past four years. You enjoy your job immensely and your supervisor has given you high marks all along. But balancing your work and the new baby is becoming an increasing struggle. Your husband makes enough money for you to go part-time or, perhaps, telecommute with reduced responsibilities and he has encouraged you do so………..
……….The problem is the organization does not have policies on either of these practices. When you've floated the idea with colleagues and your boss, they haven't been encouraging. You have to give up something soon, and it obviously won't be the baby.
Gary, a 22 year-old workstation technician whose arms are covered with tattoos, approaches his manager, a conservative, 30-year company veteran, with a computer issue he can’t solve. It is obvious to Gary that the manager seems more focused on judging Gary’s appearance than on helping him solve the problem…………
………..At the same time, the manager is thinking, "Who hired this kid anyway? The tattoos, alone, demonstrate that he doesn’t have a thoughtful bone in his body. My kids would never think of doing something like that. But we’ve got to get this server back on-line and I’m stuck with him." What steps can this manager take to do a more effective job of supervising and motivating Gary?
"I have had it with the 27-year-old twit I now work for," Charlie said to his wife. "I walked into her office today to discuss the system analysis she wanted me to do, but she had that tribal music going and I couldn’t understand half of what she was saying. When I asked her to turn it off, she did. But she looked at me like I was senile………..
……..I was working for this company when she was in diapers. "Then there’s that tongue stud in her mouth. How can you talk when that thing’s banging around on your teeth? She may be a bright kid, but she doesn’t have a clue how to work with us." What can Charlie do to foster this relationship? What parameters would you set around his supervisor’s management style?
"I want to support you. I really do," said the senior leader to his 28 year-old high tech protégé. "You can go a lot of places in this organization, but not if you show up to senior level strategy sessions in jeans and a polo shirt. We’re a coat and tie crowd. That’s our way of doing things.“………….
……………"I don’t need a tie to think," retorted his younger colleague. "Evaluate me on my work, not my appearance. I put in long hours and produce killer code, but I don’t do uniforms." How can this leader balance the attitudes and desires of this "highly employable" engineer and the protocol expected by his senior colleagues?
"Crystal, a new young hire in customer service, parties with her friends every Friday nite til early the next morning. She has been late, however, 3 of the 5 Saturdays she been asked to work. This morning, she showed up at 9:30 for a 8:00AM shift……………
………..When you approached her about the issue, she said, "What’s the big deal? If someone else was late, I’d cover for them. We get the work done and you’ve told me you like what I do. It’s not like I’m coming in drunk or something." Outline your approach for handling this situation. What specific words would you use to clearly establish your expectations, yet keep her invested in the job?
Can you please give these people a break?," asked the foreman. "This hazing is costing us good people.""We’re not hazing anybody," replied Tom, the senior lineman. "I’ve been here 17 years. These people have to pay their dues, just like the rest of us.""Maybe if you hire tougher people who can do the work, they’d stay," suggested one of his crew.""They may young, but they can do the job as well as you, retorted the foreman." How can you best respond to this manager’s attitude?
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