Leading a diverse team of employees can be one of the most rewarding opportunities you ever face in your professional career. It can seem like each team member speaks their own language and requires a unique leadership style in order to stay productive and on task. However, what can seem like a chore is really an opportunity in disguise. In today’s article, we discuss a few tips to help you successfully lead a team of multi-generation employees.
One of the most highly influential things you can do to boost your leadership skills is to simply acknowledge that there are similarities and differences across the professional landscape. To acknowledge the similarities and differences is to take a step on the path toward communicating well with your team.
Tailor Your Communication Style
Just as you would adjust your communication style with different co-worker personalities, consider adjusting communication styles across generations within your team. For example, younger workers may be quicker to catch on to new media such as email or instant messaging services, as they are already familiar with these tools in their daily lives. Older employees may be better communicated with in person or on the phone, as they may be less familiar with the intricacies of more fast-paced communication tools. They key is to know the strengths of your staff and work with them for better communication.
Offer Mentorship Opportunities
Few things are more inspiring within the workplace than a mentor-mentee relationship. Young workers crave mentorship. As a manager, you can provide mentorship opportunities for your young staff by pairing them up with more experienced workers. Older generations also appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with others. Creating room for that mentor-mentee status on both ends of the generational spectrum will help motivate your workforce and encourage positive interactions between generations.
Evaluate Your Compensation Strategy
It has been seen in recent years that while everyone appreciates being paid appropriately, younger workers are valuing non-financial compensation as well. Paid vacation time, paid sick leave, good healthcare, flexible hours, and other benefits are attractive to younger generations who are committed to maintaining a good work-life balance. On the other hand, retirement planning and healthcare may also be of serious concern to your older workers. Evaluate the needs of your staff and customize their compensation, as is helpful.
Engaged workers are more productive and more effective than their disengaged counterparts. It is important to create engagement in your team by allowing for different perspectives, different experiences, and different values to contribute to the overall creativity and dynamic of your team. Recognizing that different workers from different generations may engage in the work in different ways (for example traditionalists may prefer a more directive style of leadership, while millennials are committed to making a difference in the world). As an effective manager, you should know what the values of your staff are, and ensure they remain engaged in the work by tailoring your management style for their unique generational personalities.
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